The City of Saint John hopes a new funding program will help ease the affordable housing shortage.
The Affordable Housing Grant Program will provide upwards of $800,000 toward the building of new units in the city.
Jacqueline Hamilton, the commissioner of growth and community services for the city, said while the program will be available to both non-profit and private housing developers, the city is prioritizing non-profits.
"They play an important role in delivering community and supportive housing," said Hamilton.
"They provide housing to the most vulnerable members of our community and it also supports the private sector in delivering non-market housing."
It will offer $10,000 per unit up to $200,000 to non-profit developments and $8,000 per unit up to $160,000 to private developments.
An additional $50,000 is available for projects that address accessibility, energy efficiency or market gaps.
To receive funding, the development must be located in an area serviced by the city and be within one kilometre of a bus stop.
Hamilton said the city is hoping to add more larger units for bigger families, something that is lacking in Saint John.
Brent Harris, a councillor and member of the city's growth committee, said private developers also have an important role to play.
He said non-profits don't have the capacity at the moment to provide the necessary number of units the city needs within a reasonable time.
"If we gave every penny of this to the non-profit sector it would just take too long," said Harris.
"They're not sitting in a place where they could spend this money in a way quick enough."
Claudia Simmonds, the CEO of the Canadian Home Builders' Association of New Brunswick, said the association was gathering feedback from its Saint John members and couldn't yet speak to what the industry thinks of the new funding.
But she said "$8,000 per unit is better than what we've had previously."
Harris said the funding model will not work for every private developer, but he hopes the new program will be attractive to newer and smaller developers.
"You might be a small shop contractor, you might have three or four employees, and you might find a homeowner who's got some money to spend," said Harris.
Hamilton said the city has a target to boost the number of affordable housing units by 60, with a number of projects aiming to start within the next year.