Dec 17, 1999
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Human Resources Development and Housing Minister Percy Mockler today welcomed the news that $750 million in new federal funding will help Canadians with severe housing needs.
"This is a step in the right direction, and I would like to congratulate my federal colleagues for this positive move. We have roughly 38,000 people in this province who live in housing that they cannot afford, or that is inadequate or overcrowded," noted Mockler. "We pointed this out to the Federal government and it is good to see them take this action."
While New Brunswick does not have the same kind of homelessness problem found in the larger urban centres of Canada, Mockler noted that shelters in some of New Brunswick's larger cities are full or close to capacity every night. Some residents in rural New Brunswick also fit the broader definition of homelessness.
Mocker believes the new funding will help those in rural and urban New Brunswick. "The Federal Government has responded with funding to help people with housing needs who are some of the most vulnerable in our society who live in all of our communities, not just in large urban centres," Mockler added.
As part of a new comprehensive strategy, the federal government also announced a $268 million increase in the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) which provides financial assistance to repair substandard buildings. This assistance means low-income families can use their limited financial resources for other necessities such as food and clothing.
"This important partnership helps to upgrade residential property. This will improve the lives of many New Brunswickers and it will help prevent homelessness," Mockler added. "I want to commend the federal government, through CMHC, for its continued participation in this program. We need to see more of this type of co-operation from our federal partners. My officials will continue to work closely with the federal departments involved in the coming weeks to ensure these new funds are available to New Brunswickers as quickly as possible. "
Human Resources Development and Housing 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: Mary McIntosh, Human Resources Development, 506-444-3684.