Wait-and-see about fed hou­sing ac­tion plan

Tribune Express - - ACTUALITÉS - NEWS - GREGG CHAM­BER­LAIN gregg.cham­ber­lain@eap.on.ca

The Tru­deau Li­be­ral go­vern­ment an­noun­ced its 10-year $40 bil­lion na­tio­nal hou­sing stra­te­gy at the end of No­vem­ber. Now lo­cal so­cial ser­vices of­fi­cials are wai­ting to see whe­ther there will be any fi­nan­cial be­ne­fit for Pres­cott-Rus­sell’s sub­si­di­zed hou­sing needs.

Anne Com­tois-La­londe ex­pres­sed cau­tious op­ti­mism that the new fe­de­ral go­vern­ment hou­sing ac­tion plan could be good for hel­ping deal with so­cial hou­sing needs for the re­gion. The di­rec­tor of so­cial ser­vices for the Uni­ted Coun­ties of Pres­cott-Rus­sell (UCPR) said, du­ring an in­ter­view, that right now it is too soon to say what kind of be­ne­fits the new fe­de­ral hou­sing stra­te­gy might of­fer the re­gion.

“We hope this will be able to help the non­pro­fit hou­sing cor­po­ra­tions,” Com­tois-La­londe said du­ring a phone in­ter­view Nov. 30. “It is a stra­te­gy long awai­ted for.”

Soon af­ter Prime Mi­nis­ter Jus­tin Tru­deau’s an­noun­ce­ment, Nov. 22, of the new na­tio­nal hou­sing stra­te­gy, po­li­ti­cal pun­dits no­ted that most of the fun­ding for the $40 bil­lion ac­tion plan is al­rea­dy in­clu­ded in the 2017 fe­de­ral bud­get. One item in­clu­ded in the 10year stra­te­gy, a hou­sing be­ne­fit for fa­mi­lies, won’t take ef­fect un­til af­ter the next fe­de­ral elec­tion in 2019. The fe­de­ral hou­sing stra­te­gy co­vers sub­si­di­zed hou­sing and ho­me­less­ness is­sues in the coun­try. High­lights in­clude such goals as buil­ding 100,000 new af­for­dable hou­sing units, re­pai­ring ano­ther 300,000 such units, and pro­vi­ding pro­tec­tion for 385,000 hou­se­holds at risk of lo­sing their homes, along with cut­ting the ho­me­less­ness rate in Ca­na­da in half.

Both sub­si­dy hou­sing and ho­me­less­ness have be­come gro­wing concerns for the UCPR so­cial ser­vices department and va­rious non­pro­fit re­gio­nal agen­cies. Com­tois-La­londe no­ted that du­ring a recent mee­ting with On­ta­rio’s mu­ni­ci­pal af­fairs and hou­sing se­nior staff, there were as­su­rances that the fe­de­ral stra­te­gy, in part­ner­ship with pro­vin­cial go­vern­ments, will as­sist with re­gio­nal hou­sing concerns.

“They said there should be mo­ney for re­pairs of (sub­si­dy hou­sing) stock out there,” Com­tois-La­londe men­tio­ned, ad­ding she and her staff are now wai­ting for more in­for­ma­tion and de­tails on the stra­te­gy to come out next year.

“We sure hope it’s going to help,” she ob­ser­ved. “A lot still needs to be wor­ked out bet­ween the feds and the pro­vinces. We’re hap­py that it (stra­te­gy) is out, but we’re wai­ting for de­tails.”

Le gou­ver­ne­ment li­bé­ral de Tru­deau a an­non­cé sa stra­té­gie na­tio­nale de lo­ge­ment de 40 mil­liards de dol­lars sur 10 ans, à la fin de no­vembre. Main­te­nant, les res­pon­sables des ser­vices so­ciaux lo­caux at­tendent de voir s’il y au­ra une al­lo­ca­tion fi­nan­cière pour les be­soins de lo­ge­ments sub­ven­tion­nés dans Pres­cott-Rus­sell.

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