Moncton affordable housing group undeterred by lack of provincial backing in budget
Rising Tide sought $6 million from province to buy land, open more affordable housing
A group seeking to build more affordable housing in Moncton says it is undeterred that the $6 million it is seeking from the provincial government wasn't included in the New Brunswick budget released Tuesday.
The new group was launched to serve as a "housing entity" in Moncton with plans to operate up to 125 housing units by 2023.
It asked the province and municipal governments for $6 million each to buy vacant or multi-unit derelict homes in Moncton, renovate them and move homeless people in. It would then provide support services to those housed.
"We're still quite confident that when they look at the program and the planning we have, that they'll come forward with the funding," Dale Hicks, president of Moncton-based Food Depot Alimentaire, said Tuesday.
Rising Tide was founded by people involved with other non-profits in the community, including the United Way and John Howard Society.
'We need to do something'
Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold said the lack of funding is "extremely concerning."
"We know that we have 190 people without housing that are chronically homeless in our community right now," Arnold said.
"We need to do something. We absolutely have to figure out a way forward. But the municipality absolutely cannot do it alone."
She reiterated that the city wouldn't back the new non-profit on its own.
The city was watching to see whether the province would announce support for Rising Tide.
City staff are expected to report back to a council meeting Monday after councillors voiced tentative support for the plans at a meeting in February.
Those plans call for councillors to vote to spend $6 million over the next three years, spending Arnold previously said could require a tax hike or cutting other city spending.
On Tuesday, Arnold said Rising Tide might have to look to other funding sources, such as the federal government, if the province doesn't come through with financial support.
Finance Minister Ernie Steeves's 2020-21 budget speech included a reference to how the province would "continue to provide funding" for affordable housing projects.
A spokesperson for the Department of Social Development wouldn't comment on whether the province will support the project.
Jean Bertin said in a statement the province is reviewing proposals submitted as part of a housing strategy.
Bertin said announcements about successful projects will take place "in the coming months."
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