City Council Takes Pro-Active Approach to Affordable HousingFredericton, NB (February 9, 2009)
City Council will continue to play a leadership role in promoting the development of affordable housing in Fredericton. Council decided last night to raise the profile of its Affordable Housing Committee by dropping Ad-Hoc from its title and making it an official sub-committee of its Standing Committee on Development
Councillor Mike O'Brien made the announcement following a presentation to a meeting of City Council today by the City's Community Liaison Coordinator Joanne Thomson. She told Council approximately 500 individuals and families are on the provincial Government's waiting list for affordable housing, the majority of whom are non-elderly singles and seniors. "The need isn't going away and, if anything, it is increasing," said Councillor O'Brien. "By giving our Affordable Housing committee a higher profile, we are saying it is here to stay and will continue its mandate to promote and facilitate an increase in affordable housing development."
Coun. O'Brien, who has chaired the Committee since it was created by Council in November 2006, said it will continue to focus on encouraging partnerships, coordinating stakeholder agencies, increasing awareness and education as well as advocating for federal and provincial housing funding programs. "Affordable housing has positive benefits on health, education performance, crime rates, employment and enhances the overall quality of life," said Thomson. "We have made progress in some areas and we will continue to look for innovative ways to encourage private developers to create more affordable housing."
The City has adopted a unique program to encourage developers to build affordable housing units by offering a discount on city-owned land, and has hosted annual affordable housing conferences the last two years.
The Fredericton Affordable Housing Committee is a network of municipal, provincial and federal representatives, community groups, off-reserve aboriginal representatives and housing developers dedicated to improving access to affordable housing. Its current membership includes:
Councillor O'Brien as Chair; Brian Duplessis, Executive Director, Fredericton Homeless Shelters; Francine DiMambro, Corporate Representative NB-PEI, CMHC; Eldon Toner, Principal, Toner Renovations Limited; Fiona Williams, Coordinator, Fredericton Community Action Group on Homelessness; Gary Glauser, Consultant, NB Non-profit Housing Association; Gary Gould, General Manager, Skigin-Elnoog Housing Corporation; Jennifer English, Research & Communications Coordinator, Chamber of Commerce; and Valarie MacCallum, Executive Director, The John Howard Society of Fredericton Inc.; and two members from the City of Fredericton, Chris MacPherson, Assistant City Administrator and Joanne Thomson, Community Liaison Coordinator.