Nova Scotia announces more than $7M for affordable housing projects

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The government of Nova Scotia will spend more than $7 million to tackle the lack of affordable housing in the province.

The Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing said in a news release Wednesday that $5.7 million has been set aside to create 109 new affordable housing units in four separate developments.

The province will spend an additional $2 million to repair and adapt low-income homes across the province.

Housing Minister Chuck Porter told CBC News that with the province approaching the end of the fiscal year, more money was found to tackle the need for affordable housing.

"We certainly recognize that there's an issue with housing stock, and creating more as we go forward is an important thing for us and the government," he said.

The four major projects will be in Halifax, Dartmouth, Yarmouth and Antigonish.

Non-profits to build units

Three of the projects are being done in conjunction with non-profit organizations.

Compass Nova Scotia Co-operative Homes has been allocated $3 million to construct 51 housing units in Halifax.

The Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia will receive $1.7 million to build 25 units in Dartmouth. The land for that project will be provided by the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Seven units are to be developed in Antigonish by the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society. The province will spend $350,000 on that project, with additional funding of $20,000 being provided by the county, $20,000 by the town, and $15,000 by the Antigonish Community Energy Co-operative.

Private sector to build Yarmouth project

The development planned for Yarmouth will get $650,000 from the province and will be the only one of the projects undertaken by the private sector.

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That project will see the former Yarmouth High School on Parade Street converted into a 54-unit mixed rental housing development. Provincial funds will go toward 27 of the new units that will be used for affordable housing.

In a news release, Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood said developing affordable housing was a top priority.

"The town entered new territory by matching the provincial funds with our $650,000 to double the impact as council and staff know how very important housing is," she said.

According to the news release, the plan to convert the school for housing was presented to the town council in 2018 by developers Paul Underhill and John Hannam.

Affordable housing needed, says MLA

Yarmouth MLA Zach Churchill said he was pleased the old high school will be repurposed for the project.

"We know that more affordable housing units are needed in this area and this investment will ensure that more of our residents will have access to brand new apartments that they can afford," he said.

The new projects follow on the heels of other major housing initiatives announced late last year.

On Nov. 25, the provincial government announced more funding for homeless shelters, a ban on so-called renovictions, and a two per cent cap on rent increases.

The following month, the federal government and the province announced $10.5 million in funding for 52 affordable housing units in Halifax.

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