Affordable housing welcomes $11.2 billion from feds

Affordable housing welcomes $11.2 billion from feds

News of $11.2 billion in federal money for affordable housing couldn't have come at a better time, according to a New Brunswick housing group.

The federal government announced the spending earlier this week and said it would be spread over 11 years.

"I think there's a lot of optimism in the sector," said Dan Murphy, the executive director of the New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association Inc.  "And hopefully that will translate to new units and better quality units and really helping folks in need access good housing."

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The money coming to New Brunswick is expected to be used for both new and existing housing.

Murphy said there's a need for more accessible housing units, especially with the province's aging population.

Municipalities are looking at different programs to assist with housing, homelessness and access to proper housing. 

"Priorities are different regionally," he said.

How the money will roll out

About $1 billion a year will be spent across the country, but Murphy said he isn't sure how much will reach New Brunswick and is still waiting to receive more information.

He said both the federal and provincial governments will be working together to decide where the money will go.

In coming months, Murphy said he will be working alongside provincial officials who are developing a housing strategy to ensure needs are met in regions across New Brunswick.

"Housing is really the base for individuals to find positive outcomes," he said.  

"Whether those are health outcomes, education or just being able to participate in the economy, all these things require safe and affordable housing."

Since 2002, Murphy said the level of federal investment into housing had been declining until the previous budget and for the last 20 years, the country's affordable housing sector has been looking for a long term commitment from the federal government towards social housing.

"These kinds of investments actually end up saving government money in the long term once they're done," he said.