Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough county residents living in social housing may begin to see repairs and upgrades to their homes this year thanks to a $308,000 investment by the provincial and federal governments.
About $4 million will be spent in the province in the next year as social housing receive repairs and upgrades to their homes. Phase one of the plan will see building upgrades in Pictou County for about 800 units that house around 1,200 people. GOV OF NS
The announcement was made Monday by Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard and MP Scott Armstrong at Cornwallis Morreau Lodge, a 41-unit seniors residence in Halifax that will see upgrades.
Around $4 million will be spent to upgrade social housing, which includes seniors’ public housing, lodges and manors, low-income apartments and single-family dwellings.
"Housing is not just an investment in the bricks and mortar of a building, first and foremost, it is an investment in our people," said Bernard. "Government is committed to improving life for Nova Scotia's most vulnerable citizens. This specific initiative will help us ensure that residents of social housing continue to have safe, affordable and comfortable homes.”
Funding is through the Canada-Nova Scotia Social Housing Agreement and work will begin soon across the province.
"Our government remains committed to smart investments in housing to create better economic outcomes for the Canadian families who benefit from these programs," said Armstrong. "These renovations are a positive example of how savings from the Canada-Nova Scotia Social Housing Agreement can be reinvested to ensure that housing developments continue to be viable and affordable for years to come."
While upgrades focus on three main categories, building, health and safety and accessibility, the Eastern Mainland region will only see building upgrades in phase one.
“We have 1,200 social housing units in eastern mainland with around 800 in Pictou County,” said Elizabeth MacDonald, media-relations adviser with Community Services. “That gives us about 1,800 clients and about 1,200 in Pictou County.”
MacDonald said she couldn’t provide more details on how much would be spent in the county nor which buildings would see repairs and upgrades because tenders haven’t been delivered yet.
“What we can say is that there are projects across the county in Pictou, Westville, Stellarton, Hopewell, New Glasgow to name a few.”
The federal-provincial social housing agreement, which began in 1997, allows provincial governments to re-invest accumulated funds into existing social housing. In November, Bernard announced Housing Nova Scotia would invest its $61.8-million carry-over on renovations and upgrades. This is phase 1 of the investment.
Housing Nova Scotia and the province's five regional housing authorities identified the phase 1 projects based on need.
"We are committed to improving the quality of life of our residents and this is an important step towards our goal," said Kevin Malloy, CEO of Housing Nova Scotia. "These funds will not only ensure that our tenants live in a healthy and safe environment, but that our existing properties receive the proper upgrades so they can last for years to come."
The government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), spends about $2 billion in housing annually. Included in this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of close to 600,000 households living in existing social housing on and off reserve. In Nova Scotia, this is about 19,850 households.
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Categories of repair:
– Building upgrades: about $2.5 million will be used to repair and replace deteriorated roofs, windows, doors, siding, upgrade older heating systems, and improve public-area flooring in seniors buildings.
– Health and safety: about $1 million will be spent on improvements such as replacing sprinklers, ensure buildings continue to meet fire regulations and upgrade fire alarms designed to warn seniors about fires.
– Accessibility: about $500,000 will be used to upgrade public corridors, exterior walkways and parking areas.