Thursday, June 21, 2012

Affordable housing project in Fredericton helping tenants turn around their lives

21 June 2012

Media Contact(s) Mark Barbour, communications, Department of Social Development, 506-444-3730;
Marian Ngo, Office of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, 819-994-2482.

FREDERICTON (GNB) – A 12-unit affordable housing complex operated by the John Howard Society of Fredericton is helping people who had previously relied on emergency shelters to become productive members of society.
"Investing in affordable housing is a key part to rebuilding New Brunswick together," said Social Development Minister Sue Stultz, who is also the minister responsible for seniors, housing and community non-profit organizations. "These housing units enhance the quality of life of their tenants. They offer these individuals a safe and comfortable place to call home while providing them with a chance to take control of their lives."

The $1.02-million development received $660,000 in rent supplements from the provincial government and $480,000 under the Federal / Provincial Affordable Rental Housing Program to offset construction costs.

"Our government is investing in affordable housing here and across Canada to create jobs and improve the quality of life for those who need it most," said Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield, speaking on behalf of Diane Finley, minister of human resources and skills development as well as minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. "The creation of these new units here in Fredericton will provide low-income individuals access to quality and affordable housing while ensuring that they can stay close to their families and friends."

The complex offers safe and secure housing to people who were either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Through the housing-first approach, the John Howard Society of Fredericton is helping people achieve rejoining the community while decreasing the costs and demand on the health, social and criminal justice systems.

"This project has been a phenomenal experience," said Valarie MacCullam, executive director of the John Howard Society of Fredericton. "We knew, based on research, that such a project had the capacity to improve people's lives and reduce social-net costs. After one full year of operation, this project has demonstrated exactly that. Using a housing-first approach enabled us to provide safe and secure homes for some wonderful people."

Since the complex opened in October 2010, the 12 tenants have worked toward reducing their use of social programs and improving their ability to succeed. For example:

● 11 tenants paid their rent on time without a reminder;
● eight attended all scheduled appointments and meetings;
● two found full-time employment;
● two registered and attend GED preparation training; and,
● one started an online computer repair business.

Under the Canada-New Brunswick Affordable Housing Agreement, funding is available to private non-profit organizations, co-operatives, and community or private developers interested in developing projects for low-income families, seniors, non-elderly single persons, disabled persons and persons with special needs.

This development was built to high energy-efficiency standards and involved consultation with Efficiency NB. Builders of multi-unit residential buildings may qualify to receive incentives from Efficiency NB if the building meets energy efficiency targets.

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