N.B. developer says rental funding program is personal for him

MHM Property Management Ltd. president Martin Mockler said the actual cost of each unit in his building was around $200,000 and the rent runs $1,300 per month. But two of the apartments are subsidized, and the tenants will only pay a portion of the rent based on their income.  (iStock - image credit)
MHM Property Management Ltd. president Martin Mockler said the actual cost of each unit in his building was around $200,000 and the rent runs $1,300 per month. But two of the apartments are subsidized, and the tenants will only pay a portion of the rent based on their income. (iStock - image credit)

One Fredericton developer involved in a government affordable housing program says he isn't in it for the money, and that the amount he was given is "miniscule" compared to the building and per unit costs. He said his reasoning for being in the program is personal.

MHM Property Management Inc. received $80,000 of the $560,000 that the federal and provincial government provided. Its already-built eight-unit apartment building at 113 George Street has two units receiving rent supplement assistance.

MHM Property Management president Martin Mockler said his George Street apartments are high-end with air conditioning, washing machines and dryers in each unit and other high-end fixtures. So he said it is nice that people who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford an apartment like that can occupy two of the units.

Roger Cosman/CBC
Roger Cosman/CBC

The funding comes through the Affordable Rental Housing Program which will create 14 units in Fredericton targeted toward individuals experiencing homelessness and persons with disabilities, according to a Nov. 9 news release.

"Most of the reason we got into it is our mother," said Mockler. "When she was living in her home, we, my brother, sister and I helped keep her in the home by helping finance her. But once she got to the age where she had to go into a nursing home, we couldn't subsidize her anymore. So she became subsidized."

He said there's no money in subsidized housing for the property owner, but he believes that since landlords make their living in the community, they should also aim to help the community.

"It's a small thing to do to help," he said.

He said each year that the company stays in the program, they reduce what they have to pay back, with the money acting as a "second mortgage," said Mockler. They could leave the program at any time, he said, but then they pay back the prorated amount. Mockler said he has no intentions of leaving the program.

He said the actual cost of each unit was around $200,000 and the rent runs $1,300 per month for tenants. But since two of the apartments are subsidized, the tenants will only pay a portion of the rent, depending on their income.

Three other organizations received funding from this program, according to the government release. Smythe Street Cathedral Inc., Christ Church Parish Church and Sherico Development Inc. all received $160,000 each for different housing projects.

Deborah Allen, the executive assistant for Sherico Development, said this money is like a loan, but that there are plenty of "hoops" to jump through for developers to access this money.

She said after applying and being accepted, they have to ensure all of the government's needs are met. Allen said this includes little things like having energy efficient appliances.

The company put the $160,000 toward its building at 146 Hughes Street, which has eight affordable housing units, four of which are subsidized.

Allen said Sherico Developments got involved in this program because they want to help contribute to affordable housing.

"We've always been supportive of the affordable housing initiatives," she said. "When you are involved in affordable housing, then you take whatever avenues you can to find whatever resources are helpful."

She said they plan to continue on this road with a new project beginning in spring 2023 bringing more affordable housing, with half of the units being subsidized.