N.S. government, feds fund project to improve housing for Black, racialized communities

Click to play video: 'Housing initiative takes aim at anti-Black systemic racism'
Housing initiative takes aim at anti-Black systemic racism
A new housing initiative kicking off in Toronto is looking to take aim at anti-Black systemic racism. The Black North Home Ownership Bridge program brings together developers willing to offer dedicated homes at a discount as well as funding from charities and government. – Mar 6, 2022

The Nova Scotia government and the federal government are collaborating on a project they say will help Black-led organizations and communities across the country approve housing outcomes for Black and racialized communities.

In a release Friday, the province said the two levels of government will provide a total of $650,000 to help create the Black Communities Housing Technical Resource Centre.

“Growing the non-profit and co-operative sector is key to increasing the supply of affordable housing options and that means groups need the tools and expertise to oversee new developments and manage ongoing operations effectively,” Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr said in the release.

“We are committed to partnering with and supporting the Black community to improve and increase the availability of safe, affordable housing for people of African descent in communities across the province.”

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The government of Canada will provide $500,000 through the National Co-Investment Fund and the provincial government will provide $150,000 to support the project.

The Black Communities Housing Technical Resource Centre will be established by the Community Housing Transformation Centre, a non-profit group that provides financial support and organizational development tools to community housing organizations across Canada. The organization is also putting forward $50,000 to kick-start the project.

While the Black Communities Housing Technical Resources Centre will be based in Nova Scotia, it will provide support to organizations across Canada, the release said.

“Our team looks forward to sharing its expertise with organizations of African descent and supporting the development of community housing that meets the specific needs and interests of Black Canadians,” said Stephan Corriveau, the executive director of the Community Housing Transformation Centre.

According to the release, the new centre “will build capacity in project planning, development and management to support Black community housing organizations to better access government housing programs and other investment opportunities throughout Canada.”

It will be created, managed and staffed by Black Canadians, the release said, to provide support, counselling and expertise to Black communities across Canada “by addressing racism, inequities and other challenges and by contributing to correcting the existing imbalance in capacity and access to housing development resources and financing.”

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A survey done in the spring in the Halifax area found that marginalized communities are overrepresented in the homeless population.

Fifteen per cent of homeless individuals identified as Black, despite making up just 3.8 per cent of the HRM population. And while just four per cent of HRM’s population identify as First Nation, 22 per cent of homeless individuals were from First Nation communities.

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