FPEIM wants a long-term affordable housing program

Mike Carson
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new agreement doesn’t 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.

 

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‘s 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.

 “I’m pleased with the announcement but there is always a question of is it enough?” MacDougall said. “It’s great to see the new seniors homecare renovation program being implemented. But when you look at the tail end of the story, there’s 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

“It’s a national issue not just a provincial issue and it’s 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.”

MacDougall said the $15 million extension translates into $3 million a year.

“It’s nothing to sneeze at but I think the need is much more than that,” he said. “It’s good to see the seniors’ program in there so we can keep seniors in their homes longer. That’s a big issue right now with our aging population. It’s only beneficial to governments to keep people in their homes longer. It’s healthier. It’s better for them.”

MacDougall said the FCM has its own idea of the type of affordable housing program the federal government should put in place.

“They would like to see a program similar to what we have for our Build Canada Fund,” he said. “Something that’s predictable and it’s over a period of time. Provinces can do long-term planning.”

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.

mcarson@journalpioneer.com

Organizations: Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Build Canada Fund

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Ottawa, Canada

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