Social housing to get $6.9M facelift
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.