Released June 14, 2007

The following statement was issued by the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

Government Doubles Contribution to Provincial Home Repair Program

I am pleased to advise this Honourable House that over the course of the next six years, the Provincial Government will increase its provincial contribution for the Provincial Home Repair Program (PHRP) by an additional $24 million. This doubles the provincial contribution for this program to $48 million.

The PHRP is administered by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing. This cost-shared federal-provincial program assists low-income household with critical home repair needs, or who require adaptations to permit accessibility or alleviate difficulties faced in daily living. Since 1976, this program has assisted over 45,000 individuals province-wide.

The PHRP primarily benefits seniors living in rural areas of the province. The average homeowner recipient is 61 years old, has an annual income of $13,000 and occupies a 41-year old house.

Work covered under the program typically ranges from bringing privately-owned dwellings up to minimum fire and safety standards to critical structural restoration of a house.

The demand for housing repairs in the province is substantial, and over the next six years, this current funding commitment will help us address the more than 4,000 applications now on the wait list. The extra money will allow us to assist approximately 2,500 applicants this year alone, as compared to 1,800 annually in past years.

The program will continue to serve individuals on a "first-come, first-served" basis from the current waiting list. Urgent cases with special needs will also continue to be addressed on an exceptional basis.

We know and understand that safe affordable housing is a basic first-step in helping people achieve greater self-sufficiency and independence. PHRP has received broad support within the community-at-large and is consistent with government's social policy objective which encourages seniors to live independently within their own homes as long as they are able and consequently, is in keeping with the province's Poverty Reduction Strategy, which is focused on preventing people from potential homelessness.

In conclusion, this government has taken up the challenge, we are committed, and we will continue working to improve housing for low-income households in this province.