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Funding Partners Celebrate Opening of New Affordable Housing Projects

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta, September 9, 2004 — Low-income residents will now have improved access to affordable housing thanks to two new projects built with funding from all three levels of government.

The Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation announces the official opening of its two newest additions to the corporation's diverse housing portfolio: Horizon View, a 130-unit affordable housing project and Marshall House, a 29-suite transitional housing project.

The Honourable Joe Fontana, federal Minister of Labour and Housing, the Honourable Stan Woloshyn, provincial Minister of Seniors with responsibility for Housing, the Honourable Guy Boutilier, provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs, and His Worship Mayor Doug Faulkner joined the corporation's Board of Directors in making the announcement today.

"These two affordable housing projects show that multi-partnerships between various levels of government and local partners can be used to make a real difference in the lives of lower income persons," said Minister Fontana. "Projects such as these ensure that the vitality continues in the community."

"I am pleased with these two new projects as they will have a positive impact on the supply of affordable, safe and appropriate rental housing for low-income working families, individuals and seniors in the community," said Stan Woloshyn, Minister of Seniors with responsibility for Housing. "At the same time, they will also help ease pressure on the emergency shelter system in Fort McMurray."

"The completion of these developments is another important milestone in our long range vision of affordable and accessible housing," says Mayor Doug Faulkner.

"The construction of Horizon View and Marshall House this year have added 159 new units to the housing spectrum the corporation is working hard to address," said Gilles Huizinga, Chief Administrative Officer of the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corporation. "These projects would not have been possible without the continued support of our project partners in the federal, provincial and municipal governments and we are very pleased that they will be joining us in celebration."

The corporation received over $7.37 million for the two projects under the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program, as was announced by Premier Klein last October. The purpose of the grant is to reduce project costs to enable the corporation to offer significantly reduced market rents to qualifying residents. Alberta Seniors also donated the first 17 acres of undeveloped land in the Prospect Pointe subdivision to the corporation for a nominal sum.

Horizon View received $6.5 million and Marshall House received $875,000 in capital contributions through the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Programs. The 29-suite project will help reduce the gap in transitional and affordable housing and provides a transition from a homeless or near homeless situation towards permanent housing.

To facilitate the early start of the first stage of the Prospect Pointe subdivision, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo extended Paquette Drive north to Powder Drive during construction of the new fire hall. While the Corporation has paid their proportionate share of the roadway, the Municipality's assistance ensured stage-one of Prospect Pointe and subsequently Horizon View could start construction in 2003. The Regional Council also donated the Marshall Street property for the construction of Marshall House in early 2003.

"It is so rewarding for me to see partnership projects like Marshall House and Horizon View come to life here in Fort McMurray" said MLA Guy Boutilier. "These new units will go a long way to easing the housing needs in our busy community".

Now in its fourth year, the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program will see the federal and provincial governments each contribute $67 million over the duration of the program to increase the supply of affordable housing throughout the province. To date, approximately 1,300 new affordable housing units have been generated through the program. These projects are located in Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Cochrane, Brooks, Leduc, Rocky Mountain House and northern remote communities in the Municipal Districts of Greenview, Opportunity and Wood Buffalo. In 2004–05, $51 million will be allocated towards projects through the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program.

For more information on the Canada-Alberta Affordable Housing Program, visit the Alberta Seniors website at www.seniors.gov.ab.ca.

Marshall House Affordable Housing Project:
Official Opening Ceremony
10:30 a.m.
Thursday, September 9, 2004
10095 Marshall Street
Fort McMurray, Alberta

Horizon View Affordable Housing Project:

Official opening Ceremony
12 Noon
Thursday, September 9, 2004
103 Paquette Drive
Fort McMurray, Alberta

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Huculak
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(403) 585-9340

Ed Conway
Alberta Seniors
(780) 415-9952

Gilles H. Huizinga
Wood Buffalo and Development Corp.
(780) 742-1022