Dec 23, 1999
FREDERICTON (CNB) - At least $2.4 million dollars in new monies will flow to New Brunswick this fiscal year as a result of the federal announcement on homelessness last Friday, Human Resources Development and Housing Minister Percy Mockler confirmed today.
"My staff members have now had additional technical briefings with their federal counterparts and the news is very positive for New Brunswick," Mockler said today.
As part of its new comprehensive strategy to fight homelessness, the federal government will at least double the amount of money to be cost shared with New Brunswick under the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP), from $2.4 million to $4.8 million dollars. The RRAP program provides financial assistance to both homeowners and landlords to repair substandard buildings.
In addition to the new funding for RRAP, new investments in the Youth Employment Strategy ($59 million nationally) will provide more at-risk young New Brunswickers with meaningful work experience and transferable skills. This will translate into more training and more jobs for New Brunswick youth and will help prevent homelessness in the long run.
Mockler also welcomed an innovative new program whereby surplus federal properties in New Brunswick may be made available for local non-profit groups. "This would give community groups the chance to buy surplus federal properties at a heavily discounted cost and develop them into low cost housing," he said. "It's an exciting opportunity for our communities."
In addition to welcoming the new funding, Mockler congratulated his federal counterparts: Housing Minister Alphonso Gagliano, and particularly Labour Minister Claudette Bradshaw of Moncton. "Minister Bradshaw proved once again this week how much she cares about the people of this province and this country," Mockler said. "This is a major initiative for this country and I am proud that I could work with her on this. Many Canadians will directly benefit from her commitment to our most needy. I have already sent her my congratulations and best wishes on this endeavour. I look forward to the talks between our officials expected in January. We should learn more then about how New Brunswick will benefit from these new investments in the fight against homelessness."
The Department of Human Resources Development provides more than 17,000 social housing units to low-income New Brunswickers. In addition, 16,000 households receive assistance for emergency repairs, renovations and home completion assistance.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brent Staeben, Human Resource Development, 506-453-3391.