Over the next five years, the province and the federal government will spend $104 million to create more affordable housing across Manitoba.
While it’s not yet clear how much of the funding will be allocated to the City of Brandon, Mayor Shari Decter Hirst said this announcement is of “extreme interest” to the city.
“I know both the college and the university have projects in front of the province right now for affordable housing for students, and I know as well that Seniors Housing Co-op people are waiting to hear… so maybe this is going to be tied in to future projects going forward for them as well,” Decter Hirst said.
The funding announcement made earlier this week is following up on the Budget 2014 promise to build another 500 affordable and 500 social housing units across the province over the next three years.
“It would have been great if it were a larger pool of funds because the need is quite significant in the province, and a million dollars … in housing doesn’t go very far,” Decter Hirst said. “However, if Brandon can get its fair share of that, we’ll certainly leverage it to sort of trigger additional dollars elsewhere.”
Five properties in the city were identified as future sites for affordable housing projects, when Premier Greg Selinger spoke of the city-province partnership back in April. The city is seeking interested not-for-profit groups to help develop the new sites.
The city will contribute the property at no cost, while Manitoba Housing and Community Development will provide funding for the affordable housing projects.
“We do now have a sense of the scope of the program, which is $104 million, so that’s certainly good news going forward,” Decter Hirst said. “It gives us now an idea of how many units can be accommodated.”
The properties identified include: 231 Rosser Ave. East; 255 Frederick St.; 1345 10th St. and 2105 Brandon Ave. The fifth property is an amalgamation of land behind the new YMCA — 705 Lorne Ave., 709 Lorne Ave. and 244 Seventh St.
“The city’s commitment has always been based on land, and that’s going to be a challenge for us going forward because we don’t have a lot of large parcels left,” she said.
A big parcel of land is located at 2105 Brandon Ave., but other than that there are a few medium-sized and then single family home parcels.
“Once those are gone, then basically our ability to contribute land to the projects is gone as well.”
The funding will be delivered through an extension to the Investment in Affordable Housing agreement. The Manitoba government will help to increase the quality of rental accommodation in the private market, assist homeowners in making adaptations and emergency repairs to their homes through renovation programming, and increase access to affordable housing for households in need through rent supplements.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 31, 2014