Province Announces Affordable Housing Sector to be Bolstered with New 150-unit Commitment this Year

April 19, 2010

Budget 2010 Investment Strengthens ALL Aboard Strategy: Irvin-Ross

Housing and Community Development Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross announced today the creation of an additional 150 affordable housing units, the sixth commitment to bolstering Manitoba’s housing sector as part of the province’s five-year economic plan.“We are working hard with our partners to ensure more Manitobans have access to quality housing, regardless of their income,” said Irvin-Ross. “Our reinvigorated housing strategy is creating jobs, strengthening the economy and improving the quality of life for Manitobans across this province.”

“There is nothing more important than having a place to call home, and our new McFeetors Hall: Great-West Life Student Residence is proof that affordable housing can be aesthetically pleasing and inviting,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, president and vice-chancellor, University of Winnipeg. “Safe, clean, affordable housing is the cornerstone of stable families and neighbourhoods.”

By adding these 150 spaces this year, Manitoba will increase its affordable housing supply by 600 over two years, said the minister. The commitment is part of a five-year strategy to add 1,500 affordable housing units throughout the province. To date, commitments have been made for more than 400 of these units.

An investment of almost $60 million included in Budget 2010 will allow for the construction of social and affordable housing, which are key components of Manitoba Moving Forward, the province’s five-year economic plan, as well as the ALL Aboard poverty reduction strategy, Irvin-Ross said.

“We support the province’s commitment to increase social housing supply in the province by 1,500 units over five years,” said Clark Brownlee, chair, the Right to Housing Coalition. “It’s important that Manitobans, especially those living on low incomes, have safe, affordable housing.”

In addition to the 150 units announced today, Manitoba Moving Forward includes the following housing investments:
· creating 400 additional social housing units this year, as part of a commitment to add 1,500 social housing units in five years;
· establishing a new, three-year Downtown Residential Development Grant Program that will provide up to $20 million to spur further downtown residential development and provide the option of affordable urban lifestyles to more Winnipeggers;
· funding a 24-unit, on-campus housing development for students and their families as a part of an
$82-million investment toward construction of a new, 84,000-square-foot Thompson campus of the University College of the North;
· expanding the rent supplement for Manitobans with mental-health issues to every region of the province; and
· funding 40 new housing units for low-income seniors in Virden.

“No single government or single person can ensure the success of a vision of better housing for Manitobans,” said Irvin-Ross. “I want to personally thank all the volunteers, community organizations and private sector partners, as well as the Government of Canada, who work hard every day to make this vision a reality.”

Last year, the province announced it would invest $327 million in social and affordable housing over two years, with close to $100 million in support from the Government of Canada. The investment is part of HOMEWorks!, a long-term strategy and two-year plan to create stronger communities through housing solutions. More information about the strategy is available at www.manitoba.ca/housing.

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