PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Seniors in Prince George now have increased access to affordable housing with the opening of two new buildings that provide 66 apartments of affordable seniors' housing funded by the governments of Canada and British Columbia, along with community partners.
"Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, our Government is taking concrete action to help ensure economic recovery and create the conditions for long-term growth," said Bob Zimmer, member of Parliament for Prince George - Peace River, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). "Funding projects like Elizabeth Fry Place and Hart Haven will not only improve the overall housing conditions for seniors, but also helps to stimulate the local economy and create jobs."
"Our government was pleased to partner with the Government of Canada to provide approximately $10 million to support the creation of Elizabeth Fry Place and Hart Haven. This partnership allowed the creation of 66 new apartments that are both affordable and accessible to seniors and persons with disabilities in Prince George," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General and MLA for Prince George-Valemount. "I am truly grateful for the work that these two organizations have done to support our community and for their dedication in providing affordable housing options for those who need them most."
Through an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement, the federal and provincial governments are contributing a combined total of approximately $10 million for two affordable seniors' rental housing developments in Prince George. The City of Prince George provided $910,000 in cash equity for Elizabeth Fry Place.
"Seniors are the backbone of any healthy and vibrant community," said Mayor Shari Green, City of Prince George. "That is why it is important to connect our seniors in need with quality, affordable housing like the ones we find at Elizabeth Fry Place and Hart Haven, so they can age in a place in the community they know and love. I would like to thank all the partners that made the openings of both buildings a reality for our seniors."
Elizabeth Fry Place, located at 1373 6th Ave. in downtown Prince George provides 36 seniors' rental housing apartments managed and operated by the Prince George & District Elizabeth Fry Housing Society. The society is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization that assists primarily women, children and youth in areas of advocacy, counselling, education and social/legal justice.
Hart Haven, located at 6995 Dagg Rd. in Prince George, provides 30 apartments for seniors in need of affordable rental housing, and is directly managed by the B.C. government.
"We know that access to safe, affordable housing is a key issue on the minds of many seniors and persons with disabilities," said Kathi Heim, executive director, Prince George & District Elizabeth Fry Housing Society. "With the opening of Elizabeth Fry Place, these individuals in need can feel more at ease, knowing that more affordable housing options are now available to them right in the heart of downtown Prince George."
The Seniors' Rental Housing Initiative was a result of a $365-million joint investment under an amendment to the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement, which included funding through Canada's Economic Action Plan and by the government of British Columbia. This initiative, first announced by the two levels of government on April 8, 2009, provided $123.6 million, including $104 million for seniors and $19.6 million for persons with disabilities, to develop approximately 1,300 new affordable rental housing units, which has helped to stimulate local economies in smaller communities across B.C. Under the terms of the agreement, the provincial and federal governments provided matching contributions of $61.8 million.
The Canada - British Columbia Agreement for Investment in Affordable Housing 2011 - 2014, signed in July 2011, confirms the remaining three years of B.C.'s five-year allocation of the Government of Canada's 2008 commitment of more than $1.9 billion to improve and build new affordable housing and help the homeless. This means a further $90 million in federal funding for British Columbians in housing need. With matching provincial contributions of $90 million, a total combined investment of $180 million helps to support affordable housing programs for B.C. residents.
The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest more than $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of almost 605,000 households living in existing social housing. In British Columbia, this represents some 68,650 households. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.
- For more information on this and other measures in Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit: www.actionplan.gc.ca
- To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1 800 668-2642 or visit: www.cmhc.ca
- Over the last decade, the government of B.C. has invested $2.8 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 97,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services. To find out more, visit: www.bchousing.org
Two backgrounders follow.
Office of Minister Finley
BACKGROUNDER 1Elizabeth Fry Place
Prince George & District Elizabeth Fry Housing Society's Elizabeth Fry Place, located at 1373 6th Ave. in Prince George, provides 36 seniors' rental housing apartments for seniors and persons with disabilities in need.
Partners and Funding:
The estimated capital cost of Elizabeth Fry Place is $6.2 million for 36 affordable seniors' housing units.
- The Government of Canada provided approximately $2.7 million under Canada's Economic Action Plan - Housing for low-income seniors and housing for persons with disabilities.
- The B.C. government invested approximately $2.6 million.
- The City of Prince George provided $910,000 in cash equity for the development of this project.
Prince George & District Elizabeth Fry Housing Society
Established in 1979, the Prince George & District Elizabeth Fry Housing Society is a registered charitable organization committed to assisting primarily women, children and youth in areas of advocacy, counselling, education and social/legal justice.
Hart Haven, located at 6995 Dagg Rd. in Prince George, is a seniors' rental housing project that provides 30 units of affordable modular housing for seniors and persons with disabilities in need.
Modular housing has been used extensively for seniors' rental housing developments as it allows construction to take place in a factory with less dependence on weather conditions. The modular units meet EnerGuide 80 standards and are designed to be easily accessible for seniors and people with disabilities. This includes room sizes that allow for wheelchair access and manoeuvring, shelves and light switches at an accessible height and bathroom grab bars or step-in showers.
Partners and Funding:
The estimated capital cost of Hart Haven is $5.3 million for 30 affordable seniors' housing units.
- The Government of Canada provided approximately $2.2 million under Canada's Economic Action Plan - Housing for low-income seniors and housing for persons with disabilities.
- The B.C. government invested approximately $2.5 million and provided the land, valued at approximately $617,000.