Concerns about affordable housing raised in Fredericton

Concerns about affordable housing are being raised in Fredericton after city council approved the construction of a new apartment building on Connaught Street.

Three older, six-unit apartment buildings will be demolished to make room for the new, 32-unit building, where rent is expected to be significantly higher.

"We can't afford to lose any affordable housing," Dan Murphy, executive director of New Brunswick Non-profit Housing Association, said on Information Morning Fredericton.

"If people don't have affordable housing it really puts them in a bind to be productive members of society or even to deal with health consequences."

Murphy said there needs to be a "team effort" from all levels of government to meet the demand for affordable housing.

He is hoping there will be help in the federal budget coming down March 22 that will address the issue, such as support for new construction and a stopgap for expiring operating agreements he said will affect many of his members.

Operating agreements expiring

"The next four years is where the big peak is but this really goes up to 2030 where operating agreements will expire, meaning that … either the adequacy of the apartments will go down or the rents will increase."

He said the provincial government could help by implementing an affordable housing strategy, and municipalities could do their part by "offering land at a discounted rate or changing some of the requirements for construction or reducing red tape."

"Affordable housing is really the base for folks to be able to live happy and healthy lives," he said.

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