Released August 20, 2009

Investing in Affordable Housing Would Bolster Economy, Help Ease Housing Shortages

A variety of national housing issues were on the agenda as the Provincial and Territorial (PT) Ministers Responsible for Housing met in St. John’s on August 19. Once again, they called on the Federal Government to continue to help them bolster the national economy through further investments in affordable social housing.

"It’s been four years since we’ve had a formal housing meeting with our federal counterpart," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Transportation and Works and Minister Responsible for Newfoundland Labrador Housing. "We are, however pleased that Federal Minister Diane Finley has agreed to a formal federal/provincial/territorial meeting later this fall."

The provincial ministers say their governments have shown that they are prepared to put up 50 per cent of the cost for new construction, needed renovations to existing social housing units and affordable supportive housing for seniors, persons with disabilities and persons with complex needs.

"It is vital that all levels of government come together to create a viable, long-term plan for social housing," said Minister Taylor. "This is a great way to bolster the housing industry overall, and increased construction would certainly help improve the social housing infrastructure."

The ministers also discussed the federal funding allocation as part of the recently announced five-year extension to the Affordable Housing Initiative, the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Only the first two years of funding has yet been allocated. The ministers called for a working group to be established to take up this issue for discussion at their upcoming meeting with Minister Finley.

This conference marks the end of Minister Taylor’s term as chair of the PT housing ministers’ forum. Alberta’s Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Yvonne Fritz now assumes the role of chair of future meetings of PT Ministers Responsible for Housing.

Recently, the federal and provincial governments announced a joint investment of $93 million to build new and renovate existing affordable housing throughout the province over the next two years. Overall, the provincial contribution is $50 million, with the Federal Government contributing a further $43 million.

As part of Budget 2009: Building on Our Strong Foundation, the Provincial Government will invest $14.55 million for building, renovating and retro-fitting social housing infrastructure throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Media contacts:

David Salter
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 691-3577
Jenny Bowring
Manager, Communications
Newfoundland Labrador Housing