So­cial hous­ing to get $6.9M facelift

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - FRONT PAGE -

Money raised through On­tario’s pro­gram to re­duce green­house gas emis­sions is help­ing make Ni­a­gara Re­gion’s so­cial hous­ing stocks health­ier and more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient.

Ni­a­gara will re­ceive up to $6.9 mil­lion in pro­vin­cial fund­ing over the next five years for re­pairs and retrofits to its so­cial hous­ing prop­er­ties.

Pre­mier Kath­leen Wynne was at the Flem­ing Cen­tre in Beamsville on Thurs­day to make the fund­ing an­nounce­ment.

The in­vest­ment is part of an On­tar­i­owide pro­gram to im­prove homes for low­in­come and vul­ner­a­ble ten­ants.

“Thou­sands of renters in Ni­a­gara re­gion and across On­tario de­pend on af­ford­able hous­ing op­tions like the so­cial hous­ing high-rises we are in­vest­ing in to­day,” said Wynne in a me­dia re­lease is­sued fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s an­nounce­ment.

“Ev­ery­one in this prov­ince de­serves to have a safe, af­ford­able home where they can live with dig­nity. Our fund­ing to make these build­ings more en­ergy ef­fi­cient will also make them health­ier and more com­fort­able places for peo­ple to live.”

The pro­gram will help re­duce en­ergy bills for so­cial hous­ing providers and re­duce green­house gas emis­sions by mak­ing build­ings more en­ergy ef­fi­cient, says the me­dia re­lease. Im­prove­ments in­clude in­stalling en­ergy-ef­fi­cient boil­ers, win­dows, light­ing and in­su­la­tion.

The cash is pro­ceeds of the prov­ince’s car­bon mar­ket auc­tions which are part of On­tario’s Cli­mate Change Ac­tion Plan. The plan in­cludes a tar­get of cut­ting green­house gas emis­sions to 80 per cent below 1990 lev­els by 2050. The to­tal amount Ni­a­gara re­ceives is con­tin­gent on pro­ceeds from the car­bon mar­ket. The sys­tem, also known as cap-and-trade, puts caps on the amount of pol­lu­tion com­pa­nies in cer­tain in­dus­tries can emit, and if they ex­ceed those lim­its they must buy al­lowances at auc­tion or from other com­pa­nies that come in un­der their lim­its. On­tario has held three quar­terly car­bon mar­ket auc­tions so far, with the Sept. 6 auc­tion bring­ing in $525.7 mil­lion.

By law, the prov­ince must in­vest car­bon mar­ket pro­ceeds in pro­grams to help house­holds and busi­nesses re­duce green­house gas pol­lu­tion, which helps save money on en­ergy costs. This in­vest­ment in­cludes sup­port­ing a va­ri­ety of en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency build­ing retrofits and mak­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles more ac­ces­si­ble.

About 19 per cent of On­tario’s renters — or 260,000 house­holds — live in so­cial hous­ing, ac­cord­ing to the prov­ince.

“This in­vest­ment in af­ford­able hous­ing in Ni­a­gara is another great ex­am­ple of how On­tario’s Cli­mate Change Ac­tion Plan and our car­bon mar­ket work to­gether to re­duce harm­ful green­house gas pol­lu­tion from our homes,” said En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Chris Bal­lard. “By help­ing make so­cial hous­ing apart­ments more en­ergy ef­fi­cient, we are not just fight­ing cli­mate change, we’re also im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life for ten­ants, and help­ing shape a more pros­per­ous, low-car­bon fu­ture.”

Thurs­day’s an­nounce­ment comes on the heels of an an­nounce­ment made by Re­gional Chair­man Alan Caslin that Ni­a­gara had re­ceived $5.4 mil­lion through the Min­istry of Hous­ing’s Home for Good pro­gram. That fund­ing is in­tended to pro­vide homes for at least 63 home­less Ni­a­gara res­i­dents and pro­vide them with the sup­ports they need to stay off the streets.


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