CENTRAL, N.L. – Groups in a variety of communities across Newfoundland and Labrador will receive funding for affordable housing projects.
The July 17 announcement details a $6-million provincial/federal investment for 93 new housing units throughout the province. With aging demographics and economic uncertainty, the news was well received by many municipal leaders.
A desperately needed announcement
SUMMERFORD, N.L. – New World Island is getting some much-needed funding for affordable housing, thanks to $320,000 in funding to Peter Farr Holdings in Summerford.
The funds, announced by the province July 17, will help create eight units in the town.
Peter Farr says the units will likely be built as four duplexes on the land where the former elementary school once stood.
Summerford Mayor Kevin Barnes says with the area’s aging demographic, this new housing project is desperately needed.
“It’s an excellent start and going to make a big difference,” Barnes said. “All through New World Island our population is getting older and many of our seniors are having to leave the town in order to get somewhere to stay.”
Pastor Hardy Troake is employed with the Evergreen Manor, a seniors’ home on the very edge of Summerford that has 12 apartments. Troake knows first-hand the demand for affordable housing from the area’s elders.
“We have a waiting list; nobody knows how long, and it’s always full here,” he said.
“The Evergreen Manor ought to be twice as big as it is, and it still wouldn’t serve then,” he added.
Barnes agrees the eight new units will be a great asset to the community, but it's just a start to solving the issue at hand.
“This is all good news, but this is only a drop in the bucket,” he said. “We definitely need more in the future.”
Gander Evangel Pentecostal adding eight units
GANDER, N.L. - This is the second round of affordable housing projects for Gander Evangel Pentecostal.
They already have 10 units on their property at 59 Elizabeth Drive where a church hall once stood, and are now planning to build eight more in place of the parsonage.
“Really there is nothing in Gander that is really true affordable housing, under the government requirements,” Associate Pastor Mike Freake told The Central Voice July 23. “This is helping people who are on a real fixed income.
“It really addresses people who find it difficult to find affordable housing.”
The church received $1 million from the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Agreement for Investment in Affordable Housing for this project. It was one of three non-profit groups on the list.
Freake said the new units are destined for residents 55 and older who fall into the group the government considers to be in need of affordable housing. While there may be some overlap with the congregation, the homes are not reserved for members of Gander Evangel Pentecostal.
“This is something we wanted to do to help our community; that’s been our target right from day-one,” Freake said.
Construction on the new units is set to get underway this fall, with the application process for prospective residents following in the new year.
“If there’s anyone that we believe needs to step up and address the needs for affordable housing, we believe it should be the church,” Freake said.
“There’s no better way to help meet the needs in our community than through affordable housing… And that’s what we’re all about and that’s what every church should be about.”
‘We couldn’t be more pleased’
GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, N.L. – If all goes as deputy mayor Mike Browne hopes, Grand Fall-Windsor could see eight new tenants in affordable housing before year’s end.
Triple A Investments Ltd., a private contracting company, with $320,000 in federal and provincial backing, is currently developing a property at Bartle Place.
According to Browne, the land has been cleared and construction has started on the rent controlled properties which will comprise of two, quad units – four apartments in each building.
It’s welcome news for the deputy mayor. While the town isn’t into housing development, it does what it can to promote construction.
“We couldn’t be more pleased those units are going up,” he said. “Grand Falls-Windsor has become a town where seniors from surrounding areas move and a lot of them have trouble obtaining places to live.”
While he didn’t have the numbers in front of him, he said current facilities are at capacity.
“There are four developers into this type of housing… and right now we are not building them fast enough,” he said.
Affordable housing welcomed on Fogo Island
FOGO ISLAND, N.L. – Mayor Wayne Collins says funding announced for affordable housing on Fogo Island was needed.
As part of a July 17 announcement made by the provincial government, Fogo Island will receive $320,000 for eight new affordable housing units. In total, 93 units were announced for the province.
“Especially for our senior citizens, it’s badly needed,” said Collins. “Some individuals have been needing to leave the island to find affordable accommodations.
“For people who’ve spent much of all their lives here, and find themselves having to leave at the age of 65 and beyond, it’s a little disturbing to say the least.”
Paula McGrath is chair of Harbourview Apartments in the town of Fogo, and the 16 apartments there are intended for low income households.
To meet both the demands and space wanted by tenants, McGrath says there’s been a need to build new complexes in the area for some time.
“A lot of people are looking to have a little cottage rather than an apartment, to have their own entrance, more space,” McGrath said. “That option is not available right now.”
Now that the funding is in place, McGrath feels that building these units in a central area, close to the Fogo Island Health Centre, would be most beneficial.
The project proponent on Fogo Island is the private business KMR Transport Ltd. According to an emailed response from the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, to be eligible in the private sector, tenants are required to have a total household income of $40,000 or less.
Collins is grateful that the funding is now available, and he hopes it will be highly beneficial for the area.
“There’s no doubt it’s great news for job creation and a benefit to our seniors,” he said. “It will allow them to stay close to family and friends and have the essentials of day-to-day life taken