The Nova Scotia provincial government has announced the first action plan under the federal-provincial housing agreement.
The three-year plan will see the two levels of government contribute $44 million each and is expected to increase affordable housing options for almost 3,000 households.
Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter says the initial plan is in line with their focus on preserving and renovating existing public housing while also remaining open to new options should they arise.
“We need to get the best value for the dollars that we have to work with,” Porter said. “And if an option comes along that makes sense and that’s around creating new or other ideas, we’re looking at that.”
“We’ll continue that strategy going forward,” he said.
Outside of the action plan, the province plans to invest another $70 million to assist an additional 2,500 households. However, with an estimated 49,000 Nova Scotians in need, the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia sees it as a slow start.
“It’s disappointing,” explained executive director Jim Graham. “We could use a lot more money.”
AHANS remains hopeful that phase one will help to lay the groundwork to ensure success in the future as two more action plans will be announced over the next decade.
“How that is transformed going forward both from an ability to provide affordable housing and the ability to be cost efficient is really important,” Graham explained. “I think there’s a lot of lessons to be learned in the first three years that will influence how to approach the next six or seven.”
The action plan will see the preservation of 2,100 social housing units with another 450 repaired.
Three hundred community housing units will also be repaired or redeveloped while 40 new affordable rental units will be injected into that sector.
Those undertakings make up a significant portion of the plan, while repair and adaption programs for low-income homeowners rent supplements are also figured in.