New affordable housing complex opens in Montague

A new 30-unit affordable housing complex in Montague, P.E.I., is helping shorten the province's waiting list for subsidized housing. 

More units on the way for P.E.I. soon, province says

'It was really hard to find a place within price range and still be able to have some money to live,' says Sidney Jesso, who just moved into the new affordable housing complex in Montague with her baby. (Laura Meader/CBC)

A new 30-unit affordable housing complex in Montague, P.E.I., is helping shorten the province's waiting list for subsidized housing. 

The lack of affordable housing in eastern P.E.I. was highlighted in a report by the local Rotary Club in late 2019 that showed dramatically increased housing prices, population growth and lack of supply. 

"It gives the people who have less income coming in to have the chance to actually live, you know, somewhere and not be scared of being thrown out on the street," said Sidney Jesso, who just moved into one of the apartments with her eight-month-old daughter. 

Jesso said it was stressful trying to find a place she could afford. Her two-bedroom apartment costs her $327 per month. 

"I was blown away — everything is included," she said. "I get to give my daughter everything she needs."

People have already started to move in to the new 30-unit affordable housing complex in Montague. (Laura Meader/CBC)

These units are subsidized social housing offered by the province. Tenants who qualify pay 25 per cent of their income for rent.

The building will have a variety of tenants from young people to seniors to families. Most of the apartments are subsidized by the province, but some are owned by the developer and rented out at market rates.   

'Great for the area'

"It's very exciting," said Sonya Cobb, P.E.I.'s director of housing services. "It provides so much safety and security and options in terms of how they live their lives. It gives them a strong base to start from."

The waiting list for housing subsidized by the province has been dramatically reduced, says Sonya Cobb, P.E.I.'s director of housing services. (Laura Meader/CBC)

She said there are 83 people in the area on the waiting list for social housing and these new units will shorten that list to just above 50. There were 120 people on the wait-list in the area last year.

"Our housing services staff has been selecting tenants and been selecting their move-in dates, and we have a few tenants who have moved in already. We hope to have the rest moved in by the first of February."

In the next few months another 180 units will open in other P.E.I. locations, Cobb said. 

Three Rivers Mayor Ed MacAulay is pleased with the look of the new affordable housing units in Montague. (Laura Meader/CBC)

There are still more than 635 households on a waiting list for social housing across the Island down from about 1,000 last year, Cobb said. She said government has committed to creating 1,200 units during its current term, and it is "well on its way" to meeting that goal.

The mayor of Three Rivers, which includes Montague, says council backed this project because there was a big need for it.

"I think it's great for the area, I think it will create new business. It will certainly give people some opportunity to get better housing," said Ed MacAulay.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Laura Meader


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