By Cecilia Nasmith
Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP Kim Rudd welcomed the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development to Cobourg yesterday for a round-table discussion of housing with 20 community representatives and a look at the newest rental construction in town.
Addressing a group at 86 Munroe St., Rudd stood next to a nearly-finished building owned and constructed by Retirement Life Communities, whose chief executive officer Josef Ger was also present. Ger said 31 of its 32 units will be primarily to house seniors and individuals who require accessible accommodations. A second building to be constructed to its immediate west will be fully available to the rental market at large.
Rudd said that making sure Canadians have a safe, affordable place to call home is a priority.
“Too many Canadians have to choose between paying the rent or healthy food for their families,” she noted.
“This is completely unacceptable. That's why our government has made historic investments in housing.”
Duclos acknowledged the very important contribution Northumberland has made as a partner and leader in providing safe and affordable housing for so many.
“It was almost exactly a year ago – November of 2017 – that the Prime Minister Mr. Trudeau and myself were pleased to make an historic announcement of the first-ever National Housing Strategy,” he recalled.
“It's paying off after a long time waiting – since 1993, when the Federal government essentially disappeared from housing.
“There are almost one-million reasons to celebrate, because almost one-million families across Canada have benefited from housing investments since 2016, better access to a safe, affordable place to call home. That's $5-billion in investment additional to what otherwise would have been invested since 2016.
“In Northumberland, this means almost one thousand families have been helped through this investment since 2016. These families include some of Canada's and some of Northumberland's most vulnerable people,” he said, listing seniors, young adults, women and children fleeing domestic violence, veterans and people living with disabilities.
“This is just a beginning, because there will be a lot more to come. We will be multiplying by four the number of units constructed in the next decade. We will be multiplying by three the homes and housing units we will be repairing. We will be reducing by 50% chronic homelessness, protecting affordability of current social- and community-housing stock – and we will be doing all this because we will have good partners and good leaders.”
A press release issued in conjunction with the visit noted that, in Ontario alone, the Government of Canada has invested $2-billion to support more than 310,000 families since 2016. It also set out forecasts for the National Housing Strategy – protecting the affordability of 385,000 existing housing units, repairing 300,000 affordable homes, constructing another 100,000, and providing direct support for those in housing need.
The nearly-completed apartment building on Munroe Street will be a mix of rent-geared-to-income and market-value units with a good number of accessible units for tenants with disabilities.
Duclos noted that the word “mix” is significant in the National Housing Strategy - “a mix of services, a mix of people of different origins and abilities and resources, a mix of partnerships.”
Duclos said the Federal government relies upon partnerships to make this work, and he is delighted to see a big difference in Rudd's riding.
“We are very grateful for the leadership and partnership of the people in this community,” he stated.