Nova Scotia

N.S. to spend $25M on affordable housing programs

The Nova Scotia government announced on Tuesday it will spend $25 million on affordable housing programs, a move that follows the release of a report in June from the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission.

Majority to be spent on creating 600 to 900 affordable units

Housing Minister Geoff MacLellan speaks at a July 6 event announcing the province will spend $25 million to help address the immediate recommendations made by the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission. (Robert Short/CBC)

The Nova Scotia government announced on Tuesday it will spend $25 million on affordable housing programs, a move that follows the release of a report in June from the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission.

"The commission's 17 recommendations and 60 actions are a roadmap for how to address affordable housing," said Housing Minister Geoff MacLellan. "The province is committed to all of the commission's immediate recommendations."

Between 600 and 900 affordable units will be built over the next 12 to 18 months using $20 million. The minister said the government will issue a request for proposals before deciding on the specific projects.

"This will change the face of housing in Nova Scotia for decades," said Jim Graham, who is with the Affordable Housing Association and was a member of the commission.

Karen Brodeur, appointed to the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission, speaks at the event. (Robert Short/CBC)

A fund for the community housing sector will receive $2.5 million. The announcement was celebrated by the manager of the Atlantic Co-operative Housing Federation.

"There can be no better moment than now," said Karen Brodeur. "In this time of COVID-19 the link between safe, affordable housing and health has never been clearer."

The announcement took place on a vacant lot on Maitland Street in Halifax where the construction of a 57-unit co-operative housing project is expected to begin in March 2022.

This image shows a Maitland Street lot in Halifax where the announcement was made. The construction of a 57-unit co-operative housing project on this lot is expected to begin in March 2022. (Robert Short/CBC)

The province said $2 million will also be spent on social housing repairs and another $500,000 will go towards housing needs assessments done by municipalities.

MacLellan said long-term housing goals will need the co-operation of all three levels of government in collaboration with community groups and developers.

The report of the Affordable Housing Commission also envisions an independent, arm's-length entity to oversee housing issues. MacLellan agreed it was "a cornerstone of the report but it will need a significant process."

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