May 6, 2010
SAINT JOHN (CNB) - The 17th conference and annual general meeting of the New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association will be held on Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8, at the Delta Brunswick Hotel in Saint John.
This year's theme - Affordable Housing - Everyone's Right - ties in with the province's Overcoming Poverty Together: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan.
More than 200 delegates representing non-profit and co-operative housing are expected. The meeting will also be attended by Social Development Minister Kelly Lamrock as well as by representatives from that department, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and municipalities.
"It is a pleasure to participate in this conference and provide an update on affordable housing in New Brunswick," Lamrock said. "It is one of the key components of the poverty reduction plan, and we are making significant progress to ensure New Brunswickers have a quality, energy-efficient place to call home."
Lamrock will also focus on the importance of renewing the federal/provincial housing agreement; the development of the province's housing and homelessness strategies; and the Crescent Valley Revitalization Plan (in Saint John). Moreover, the minister will present the association's Volunteer of the Year Award.
A panel discussion on poverty reduction will be held during the luncheon on Friday, May 7. An update on the initiative will be provided by representatives from the government, non-profit and business sectors. Following the presentation, panellists will be available to respond to questions from delegates.
James Hughes, deputy minister of social development, will provide an update on behalf of the government during the discussion.
"We have accomplished a great deal in the few months since the Final Forum was held and the poverty reduction plan was adopted," said Hughes. "These accomplishments show how much we can achieve when people work together toward a common goal."
Eric Tusz-King, manager of EnerGreen Builders Co-operative in Sackville, will represent business on the panel. Tusz-King participated in his community forum along with the roundtable that prepared options for the Final Forum; he also participated in the Final Forum itself.
"The process used to develop the report was inclusive and comprehensive," said Tusz-King. "All sectors involved, including both political parties, committed themselves to the recommendations in this report and are now directly accountable to work with each other to realize the goals of this plan."
Léo-Paul Pinet will represent the non-profit sector on the panel. He is one of the co-chairs of the poverty initiative and one of the vice-chairs of the new Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation.
"I encourage all participants to reflect on the role that non-profit housing initiatives could play in the sustainable development of their communities," said Pinet. "Housing is a basic need that was quickly recognized while developing the provincial poverty reduction plan."
The keynote speaker will be Bernard Richard, the province's ombudsman and child and youth advocate. Richard will touch on the work of the non-profit sector in providing needed housing; the challenges facing non-profit organizations; and the importance of the poverty reduction initiative to New Brunswickers.
Delegates will take part in workshops on various topics such as the role that municipalities can play in developing affordable housing; the importance of social enterprise in affordable housing; and amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act.
The association is comprised of more than 200 non-profit and co-operative housing corporations that own and operate more than 6,200 affordable housing units for seniors, families and persons with special needs. These corporations are owned and operated by more than 1,600 volunteers.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Nichole Bowman, communications, Department of Social Development, 506-457-7857; Wayne Dempsey, conference chair, 506-457-4782.