News Release - November 19, 2010
GOVERNMENTS OF CANADA AND SASKATCHEWAN CELEBRATE NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN REGINA
Andrew Scheer, Member of Parliament for Regina-Qu'Appelle, on behalf of Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), along with Social Services Minister and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation June Draude, and City of Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco today announced support for a local housing initiative for people living with mental illness.
Funding in the amount of $3.8 million has been made available for the initiative through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government's plan to stimulate the economy and create jobs during the global recession. The federal and provincial governments are contributing equally to an overall investment of $132 million under the amended Canada-Saskatchewan Affordable Housing Program Agreement.
"Our government is investing in safe, affordable housing here in Regina, to help create jobs and improve the quality of life for those who need it most," said Scheer. "These investments, made possible through Canada's Economic Action Plan the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, will help people in our community who are living with mental illness to access stable rental housing that meets their needs."
"This initiative follows through on our government's commitment to housing availability and affordability for Saskatchewan people," Draude said. "We are pleased to be a part of this project, as it supports our resolve to work with persons with disabilities on an approach that will allow them to access a wider choice of quality, affordable homes and to be an integral part of the community."
Persons with disabilities often have difficulty finding housing that meets their specific needs. Canada's Economic Action Plan provides $75 million over two years to build new rental housing for persons with disabilities. Overall, the Economic Action Plan includes $2 billion for the construction of new and the renovation of existing social housing, plus up to $2 billion in low-cost loans to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.
The federal and provincial governments are contributing $3.8 million to the project through the Economic Action Plan, with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada providing an additional $600,000 in federal funding through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Funding contributions were provided from the City of Regina ($400,000) and Ehrlo Community Services Inc. ($1.5 million). The project is currently under construction and expected to be complete in late 2011.
When completed, the project will be a three storey, multi-use building located at 2035 Osler Street in Regina's Heritage Neighbourhood. Commercial space will be available at street level, with 40 affordable rental units on the two upper floors. The units are designed and designated for people with serious mental health conditions and cognitive disabilities who require supports to live independently.
The project is sponsored and organized by Ehrlo Community Services Inc., a non-profit charitable organization that serves children and families in Regina. Support services will be provided by Phoenix Residential Society. This is a unique partnership in Regina, with two community groups coming together to meet an identified need.
"The City of Regina is pleased to provide a $400,000 contribution for the development of this important initiative," Fiacco said. "Regina's City Council is committed to supporting safe, reliable affordable housing projects to improve living conditions and quality of life for Regina residents."
"A key to meeting the needs of vulnerable populations is bringing together stakeholders to leverage their strengths to solve problems," Ehrlo Community Services Vice President Malcolm Neill said. "Ehrlo is extremely proud of this project, which focuses on a priority populations outlined in ‘Regina's Community Plan 2007: A Home for All'."
Canada's Economic Action Plan builds on the Government of Canada's commitment in 2008 of more than $1.9 billion, over five years, to improve and build new affordable housing and help the homeless.
The amendment to the Canada-Saskatchewan Affordable Housing Program Agreement, which included funding under Canada's Economic Action Plan, signed in May 2009, brought federal housing support of $74 million to the province. The Government of Saskatchewan will match that commitment for a total of $148 million to assist those in housing need and, in collaboration with other levels of government and community partners, to make various types of affordable housing programs possible. In Saskatchewan, federal-provincial housing programs are delivered through the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.
More information on this and other measures in Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government's plan to stimulate the economy and protect those hit hardest by the global recession, can be found at www.actionplan.gc.ca.
To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan.
For more information, contact: