New affordable housing units approved by Fredericton council

Seven new affordable housing units received final approval at Monday night's Fredericton city council meeting.

Jason LeJeune, Housing First project coordinator for the United Way, said the new units will help the homeless population in the city. 

"They are people that aren't housing ready. They aren't ready for private sector housing, or even subsidized housing on a lot of levels," said LeJeune.

"This is purpose built to serve that community, where we take them where they're at. There are no barriers. We take them into housing and then wrap the services around them." 

The new units will be located at 156 Jaffrey St. on the city's north side, and 590 Albert St., on the south side.

The four units on Jaffrey Street will be owned and run by Smythe Street Church, while Christ Church Cathedral will own and run the three units on Albert Street.

LeJeune said profits will go to the United Way to continue helping Fredericton's homeless population.

The units will be single occupant, one bedroom apartments, and tenants will pay 30 per cent of their income. The John Howard Society already runs four similar units in the city. 

City steps in to help

Fredericton Mayor Mike O'Brien said the city had to step outside its comfort zone to help make the affordable units possible.

O'Brien said homelessness doesn't fall under municipal jurisdiction, but the city wanted to find a way to help.

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"Legislatively, municipalities don't have any funding or legislative authority to do healthcare, education or social services," said O'Brien.

"But to just sit back and say, 'We're just waiting for the provincial government to solve everything. They only have limited time and people."

Staff asked to examine bylaws

The city had small parcels of land, which it supplied for the affordable units.

At Monday night's meeting, council also approved another motion for staff to examine its bylaws around single resident occupancy units. This will make it easier to develop affordable housing. 

"This doesn't solve homelessness, but it shows you can be as caring and compassionate as possible to address the situation," O'Brien said.