The provincial government on Monday announced an investment of $102.2 million to build 380 new public housing units and to renovate 110 vacant units.
Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard said it’s the first time the province has built new government-owned housing in nearly four decades.
Plans call for 40 units each in Fredericton, Moncton, and Saint John; 68 units in the northern regions; and 192 units in “areas of greatest need.”
The government said in a statement it plans to invest $2.2 million this year so that the 110 vacant units will be occupied immediately.
NB Media Co-op reporter Arun Budhathoki interviewed her about the news and what it means.
She applauded the government for acknowledging the housing crisis, but said: “If we are living through a crisis, we need to see a crisis-based response.”
The NB Media Co-op also reached out to ACORN NB, a group that campaigns for tenants’ rights.
“It’s encouraging to see the Government of New Brunswick acknowledge their shortcomings in dealing with the affordable housing crisis for decades,” said Angus Fletcher, a member of ACORN NB.
“Maintenance of public housing units, and the construction of new units, is sorely needed as the waitlist grows and our members continue to experience unhealthy public housing,” he said.
“More commitment to affordable housing will be needed to address this crisis, with the housing waitlist having grown past 8,000. We call for a greater commitment to safe, affordable public housing and for public housing tenants to be protected under the Residential Tenancy Act.”
Arun Budhathoki is a journalist with the NB Media Co-op. This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, administered by the Canadian Association of Community Television Stations and Users (CACTUS).