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Affordable housing project in Saint John, N.B. receives $16M

Click to play video: 'Saint John building to get funding for affordable housing'
Saint John building to get funding for affordable housing
WATCH: An apartment building under construction in Saint John is getting some government help. The building will feature a sizeable affordable housing component. As Robert Lothian reports, officials are hoping this will be the start of a significant period of affordable housing development in the city – Dec 21, 2022

The Wellington, a soon-to-be-completed mixed-apartment building complex in Uptown Saint John, N.B., received $16 million towards construction on Wednesday morning.

Gathered inside Saint John City Hall, representatives from the municipality, the provincial and federal governments, and local organizations announced investments in the 47-unit building.

“Having access to a safe and affordable place to call home can really make the difference between someone just getting by to actually starting to get ahead,” said Ahmed Hussen, the federal housing and diversity and inclusion minister.

Construction of the Wellington is expected to finish in the spring.

The property consists of 24 affordable housing units, which means tenants’ rents will be no more than 30 per cent of their income.

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According to Jillian Jordan, the chairperson for Saint John Non Profit Housing Inc., the remaining 23 units will be priced around $1,400.

“This building is constructed to the universal design standard, so it’s a housing standard that works for everyone. It makes housing accessible to those with disabilities and allows residents to stay in their home as their life circumstances change,” Jordan said.

Jordan noted the building is designed to the Passive House design standard, requiring less energy for heating and cooling and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Funding announced Wednesday included $11.5 million from the federal government through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund.

The government of New Brunswick contributed $960,000 through the Affordable Rental Housing Program and $2.85 million to supplement rent over the next 20 years.

Additionally, nearly $500,000 was contributed by the City of Saint John, and the Rotary Senior Citizens ltd contributed $150,000.

According to New Brunswick’s social development minister, Dorothy Shephard, the long process required for the Wellington is an example of why a “radical” approach is needed on the housing file.

“The bureaucratic process for these developments is a hindrance; we need to move faster. This was a 10-year project, and 47 units for 10 years is a long time, and we need more nimbleness.”

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When asked about why the funding was delivered near the end of the project, Hussen stated the contribution amount couldn’t be revealed any earlier.

Hussen said he expects to deliver more funding to the region in the near future, adding projects can be delivered through a quicker process with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation involved in social housing.

“Structurally and capacity wise [CMHC was] not there, and they’re getting there now, but you can imagine they were away from essentially social housing for 10 years.”
Click to play video: 'New Brunswick accelerating plan to reduce tax on rental properties'
New Brunswick accelerating plan to reduce tax on rental properties

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