FREDERICTON – March 23, 2016 – The New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association (NBNPHA) welcomed new commitments in Federal Budget 2016 to increase investment in housing and homelessness by $2.3 billion over two years, and a commitment to consult with stakeholders on the development of a National Housing Strategy to be implemented over the next eight years.
Specifically, over the next 2 years, the Budget contains $504 million to double the Investment in Affordable Housing Initiative; $200 million targeted to affordable housing for seniors; $574 million to support energy and water efficiency retrofits to existing social housing; almost $90 million to support shelter for families escaping intimate partner violence, $739 million to address housing in First Nations, Inuit and northern communities; $111 million to bolster the Homelessness Partnering Strategy; $208 million to a new Affordable Rental Housing Innovation Fund (over 5 years); and $30 million to provide rent subsidies for federally administered social housing providers.
The Budget also commits to consult with provinces and territories, indigenous and other communities, and key stakeholders to develop a National Housing Strategy.
New Brunswick implications
New Brunswick households are facing serious housing issues, with 29,565 households living in core housing need, and 11,765 renter households spending more than 50% of their income on shelter. Recent surveys in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Bathurst also reveal a high prevalence chronic homelessness.
“Today’s budget sends a strong signal to New Brunswick’s social housing and homelessness movement,” said Tim Ross, Executive Director of the NBNPHA. “It is time to dust off development plans and get ‘shovel ready.' We look forward to pursuing immediate opportunities to renovate and retrofit existing non-profit and co-operative housing stock, and build new housing in order to help struggling households and tackle chronic homelessness.”
Cost sharing questions
The Federal budget announced funding increases to a number of programs and initiatives, including cost-sharing programs with the Government of New Brunswick. “In addition to working with the Government of Canada, we also look forward to engaging with the Government of New Brunswick to maximize new federal commitments,” said Ross.
The federal budget committed to doubling funding for the Investment in Affordable Housing Initiative. The Governments of Canada and New Brunswick cost share this program through a bilateral agreement. At this time, the NBNPHA looks forward to clarification on the Government of New Brunswick’s role in matching the increased federal investment.
Rent subsidies continue to be cut
Long term operating subsidies are expiring for over 10,000 social housing units in New Brunswick. The federal budget committed to capital repair and renewal of social housing stock, and the continuation of rent subsidies for low-income households in federally administered social housing. This means New Brunswick’s social housing providers are expected to have access to capital repair and renewal funding, but deep rent subsidies for vulnerable households will continue to be cut until at least 2018. Immediate solutions will need to be developed for dozens of households whose rent subsidies are set to expire between now and 2018.
Media Contact: Tim Ross, Executive Director, New Brunswick Non Profit Housing Association
T: 506-261-1292 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the New Brunswick Non Profit Housing Association
The NBNPHA’s mission is to support and strengthen New Brunswick’s social housing movement so that all residents can access a safe, affordable place to call home. The Association’s 200 members operate over 6,000 units of non-profit and co-operative housing in 115 New Brunswick communities.