Media Release

May 21, 2014

Ministerial Statement: Long-Term Supportive Housing Team Making Progress in Labrador

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to update my Honourable colleagues on the work of the Supportive Housing Action Team. This group was established to help address short-and long-term housing needs for displaced residents of Newman’s boarding home in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. It is chaired by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation.

I wish to express sincere thanks to all community groups, government agencies and departments and the Nunatsiavut Government who came together so quickly and responded to residents’ urgent needs, immediately providing shelter and necessary supports. Following the short-term response, the community partners have also expressed their appreciation of our approach in focusing on long-term solutions, and we cannot give them enough credit for stepping up in the way they have to help find housing for those individuals who were displaced.

Today the majority of tenants are in public or non-profit rental housing or with family and friends, receiving supports and assistance as necessary, while longer-term solutions are sought.

We recognize this is a complex problem and finding longer-term solutions requires a combined effort across multiple organizations and community groups. The Supportive Housing Action Team includes senior officials from across a number of Provincial Government departments – Advanced Education and Skills, Health and Community Services, Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, as well as Labrador Grenfell Health and representation from the Nunatsiavut Government.

Mr. Speaker, the team has been meeting weekly and is fully engaged and working with Melville Native Housing, the Salvation Army, the Labrador Friendship Centre, the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, and others in the community to ensure long-term housing solutions are developed.

As we consider options and work towards solutions, we are grateful to everyone involved for the time and effort they have contributed. The collective response was truly outstanding and is a testament to what can be accomplished when we all work together.

Thank you.

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