Released April 4, 2011

The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Darin King, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation:

Social Housing Plan Gets Great Results

I rise today to inform Honourable Members of the many accomplishments within the Provincial Social Housing Plan and Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation. Our goal has always been to address various components of providing affordable housing for those with the greatest need.

For at least 25 years, not a lot of attention was paid to affordable housing issues. This government changed that by becoming only the third jurisdiction in Canada to produce a provincial social housing plan with input from our many partners and stakeholders. Since its release in August 2009, we have stuck to this plan, which outlines access to adequate, affordable housing as an essential element to preventing, reducing, and alleviating poverty and provides goals and objectives to pursue.

The Provincial Government has now tripled the budget for improvements and renovations to sustain Newfoundland and Labrador Housing’s 5,500-unit portfolio, a budget that was for limited for many years.

For 25 years the heat subsidy funding was $6.9 million; today it is $9.4 million.

The Rent Supplement Program remained at a level of $4 million for 25 years. In 2009, the Provincial Government increased NLHC’s Rent Supplement Program by 50 per cent to $6 million. I am pleased to say that 78 rent supplements, for the first time, were provided to assist the Canadian Mental Health Association and Stella Burry Community Services to accommodate persons with complex needs.

The Provincial Home Repair Program was $4 million per year for 25 years; this government actually doubled its contribution to that program from $4 million to $8 million.

In addition, in 2009 our government introduced the first-ever Residential Energy Efficiency Program. That two-year pilot program saw enormous and positive results – a 35 per cent decrease in low income household’s energy costs amounting to nearly $800 per year savings.

We introduced a $1 million annual Homelessness Fund in 2009 that is enabling non-profit organizations throughout the province to do their part in curbing homelessness and poverty in their communities.

For the past six years our Provincial Government has been signatory to three phases of a provincial-federal affordable housing program that will see the construction of nearly 900 new affordable housing units for seniors, persons with disabilities, families, and persons with complex needs.

In closing, I would like to say that all of these initiatives, which were put forth by our community partners and administered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, have received positive results. I look forward to what we will accomplish in 2011.