new agreement doesn‚Äôt go far enough, says FPEIM president
SUMMERSIDE - A recent announcement that the province has signed a $15 million, five-year extension to the Affordable Housing Agreement with the federal government has been praised, but the president of the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities (FPEIM) says more needs to be done.
© File photo
FPEIM president Bruce MacDopugall
While the federal government is extending this program it says no further applications will be taken for the Home Renovation Program, The Person‚Äės with Disabilities Home Renovation Program or the Emergency Home Repair Program.
FPEIM president Bruce MacDougall said both the FPEIM and the national body, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), are urging Ottawa to maintain a long-term funding formula for affordable housing.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm pleased with the announcement but there is always a question of is it enough?‚ÄĚ MacDougall said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs great to see the new seniors homecare renovation program being implemented. But when you look at the tail end of the story, there‚Äôs no further applications being accepted for three other home renovations that have been in place for this year."
The FPEIM president said the question of affordable housing goes beyond Prince Edward Island
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a national issue not just a provincial issue and it‚Äôs an issue that the FCM and our own local FPEIM association have been dealing with the province and every province right across Canada," he said. "The FCM has been calling on the federal government to come up with, in co-operation with the provinces, an affordable housing program that is long-term.‚ÄĚ
MacDougall said the $15 million extension translates into $3 million a year.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs nothing to sneeze at but I think the need is much more than that,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs good to see the seniors‚Äô program in there so we can keep seniors in their homes longer. That‚Äôs a big issue right now with our aging population. It‚Äôs only beneficial to governments to keep people in their homes longer. It‚Äôs healthier. It‚Äôs better for them.‚ÄĚ
MacDougall said the FCM has its own idea of the type of affordable housing program the federal government should put in place.
‚ÄúThey would like to see a program similar to what we have for our Build Canada Fund,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúSomething that‚Äôs predictable and it‚Äôs over a period of time. Provinces can do long-term planning.‚ÄĚ
P.E.I. Senator Catherine Callbeck added her voice to the need for a renewed affordable housing program. She said over the next few years about $1.7 billion in long-term social housing agreements with the federal government will be expiring across the country, including agreements on Prince Edward Island worth about $12 million a year. Callbeck said the federal government subsidizes 3,100 households across P.E.I.