Nova Scotia and Ottawa announce funding for 65 more affordable housing units

·2 min read

HALIFAX — The Nova Scotia and federal governments announced Wednesday they will spend a total of $3.2 million to build 65 affordable housing units for seniors and low-income residents in the communities of Bridgewater, Port Hawkesbury and Oyster Pond.

Bridgewater will get 25 new units, and 24 existing units in Port Hawkesbury will be improved and rented below the market rate. In the Oyster Pond area, which is part of the Halifax region, the former Jeddore Lakeville Elementary School will be converted into 16 affordable, one-bedroom units for seniors.

Provincial Housing Minister Geoff MacLellan and federal Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen said the housing projects are part of Ottawa's National Housing Strategy, which aims to build 100,000 new housing units and repair or renew another 300,000 units across Canada over ten years. Provinces and territories are required to match about half the federal government's investment.

"Every Canadian deserves a safe and affordable place to call home," Hussen said in a statement.

On Monday, the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission called on the province to invest $25 million over the next 100 days. The commission's report said rising housing costs, high energy costs, a growing population and Nova Scotia's high poverty rate created a "perfect storm" last year that pushed the housing system to a breaking point.

The commission said about 600 to 900 individuals and families need immediate access to reasonably priced, safe accommodation.

Nova Scotia appointed the 17-member commission after a public outcry last fall over a series of evictions of low-income tenants and rising homelessness in Halifax. The commission said the need for long-term funding is much larger, but the initial investment would help deal with the current crisis.

The report defined affordable housing as residences that are in good repair, are suitable for their occupants and cost less than 30 per cent of the occupants' income. It said about 44,100 households are falling short of this threshold.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press