Many Nova Scotians living in housing co-operatives will soon benefit from repairs made through funding from the Social Housing Assistance Repair Program (SHARP).
The province will invest $8 million over the next three years to help co-ops make repairs to members’ homes. The funds will be drawn from the $42 million in deferred federal contribution the province committed to invest in affordable housing.
“Co-ops are an important piece of the affordable housing mix,” said Joanne Bernard, Minister responsible for Housing Nova Scotia. “Residents have access to stable, long-term housing, and they have a voice in how the co-operatives are governed.”
Many of the province’s housing co-operatives are showing their age and the funding will help preserve affordable housing.
“Our government is committed to ensuring that Nova Scotians have better access to secure, stable housing along with more jobs and opportunity which leads to better overall economic outcomes,” said federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay, on behalf of Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development). “We will continue to work with our provincial colleagues to ensure that social housing in the region continues to be safe, accessible and affordable for years to come.”
Housing co-ops can apply for up to $24,000 per unit for repairs, including structural, electrical, plumbing, heating and modifications for accessibility. Funds from the program are forgiven over a maximum 10-year period.
“The SHARP program will allow co-ops to make necessary repairs while keeping their rent affordable,” said Opal Brinton, a 23-year co-op member at Needham Housing Co-op in Halifax. “This announcement is welcome news for the housing co-op community.”
The province is partnering with the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada), which will help with applications.
“This investment is an example of funding that works,” said CHF Canada’s director, sector development Karla Skoutajan. “Previous SHARP funding has improved the physical condition of housing co-ops and the lives of hundreds of members of housing co-ops. Our members certainly value the province’s partnership and investment in the long-term viability of housing co-operatives in Nova Scotia.”
There are 69 housing co-operatives in Nova Scotia providing safe, affordable housing to 4,300 households.
For information on the province’s housing strategy, visit http://housing.novascotia.ca/ .
To find out more about CMHC, call 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.gc.ca .