Provincial, federal governments sign $75M affordable-housing plan

The provincial and federal governments signed a two-year, $75-million affordable-housing agreement on Wednesday.

Money for new housing, retrofits and shelters

Community Service Minister Joanne Bernard says it won't take long to spend new affordable housing money coming from Ottawa. (CBC)

A new federal-provincial agreement will see almost $75 million in new money invested in affordable housing in Nova Scotia over the next two years.

The province officially signed on to the new federal Social Infrastructure Fund agreement on Wednesday. The agreement sees Nova Scotia putting in $21.4 million, with Ottawa kicking in the rest.

In terms of targeted funding, $8.6 million will be used to create affordable housing for seniors, $18.2 million will go to retrofit and renovate existing social housing and $5.2 million is for support for victims of domestic abuse via transitional housing.

Specific details still to come

Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard said the province learned it would get money following the release of the federal budget, but it was only recently they found out how much.

While specific details of the projects will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months, Bernard said the money would go to the areas with the greatest need and there would be new space created for transitional services. It must be committed to projects in the next two years.

"Construction and enhancements will be starting very, very soon."

The oldest housing stock in Canada

It won't be difficult to spend the money, said Bernard.

"Seventy-five million opens up tons of opportunities for us, but there's a housing need across the province, across the country. We have the oldest housing stock in Canada, so we're continually trying to maintain and enhance what we already have."

In the last two years the province's wait list for social housing has decreased by 10 per cent through the use of rent supplements. Bernard expects more of those to come.

Ottawa is signing similar agreements with all of the provincial governments.