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Habitat for Humanity to Develop Two New Affordable Homes in Hunter River

HUNTER RIVER, Prince Edward Island, July 21, 2005 — A Hunter River property once occupied by the RCMP is being converted into a side-by-side duplex, creating two new affordable homes for low income families.

The Honourable Wayne Easter, Member of Parliament for Malpeque, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing, along with the Honourable Chester Gillan, Prince Edward Island Minister of Health and Social Services, were in Hunter River today to make the announcement.

Habit for Humanity PEI Inc. will receive $242,000 in government funding to assist with the renovation project. The property, valued at $132,000, is being transferred through Government of Canada's Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative, a component of the National Homelessness Initiative, while the Canada – PEI Affordable Housing Agreement is contributing $110,000 to the cost of renovating the property. Renovations will be carried out by Habitat for Humanity volunteers and are expected to be complete later this fall.

"This partnership with Habitat for Humanity PEI, clearly demonstrates how governments can work innovatively and effectively with community groups to access home ownership," said Mr. Easter. "The Government of Canada is committed to working together with partners to create more affordable housing in Prince Edward Island. The expanding scope of Habitat for Humanity on PEI is great news for Island families.

"We are pleased to be working once again with Habitat for Humanity to create more long term, affordable housing for Islanders. This project will provide two well designed, well constructed, affordable homes for Island families, which will improve the quality of their lives significantly," Minister Gillan noted. "The flexibility of the Canada – PEI Affordable Housing Agreement allows us to work with community groups across the province to develop projects such as this. Habitat for Humanity is an inspiration to us all with the level of their volunteer commitment and their incredible productivity here on PEI.

"It will take all levels of government, the volunteer sector and the business sector working together to create affordable housing opportunities in Prince Edward Island," said Jim Wicks, President of Habitat for Humanity PEI. "The money invested in this project will be used over and over again to build more homes in our community, as Habitat partner families return those investments to the Habitat Building Fund through their mortgage payments."

The National Homelessness Initiative's Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative compensates federal departments and agencies at market value for surplus properties. These properties are then transferred at a nominal cost to community organizations for projects that address homelessness.

The Canada – Prince Edward Island Affordable Housing Agreement, which was signed in 2003, stated that it would provide $5.5 million to create 120 housing units by the end of 2007 across PEI. The Government of Canada is contributing $2.75 million to be matched by the Province and other partners.

For further information, please contact:

Darlene Gillis, Communications Coordinator
Department of Health and Social Services
Prince Edward Island
(902) 368-6172
David Olafson
Corporate Representative
CMHC
(902) 566-7339
Jim Wicks
President
Habitat for Humanity, PEI
(902) 368-3207
Stephen Ramsay
Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada
(902) 566-7686

Backgrounder

Canada – PEI Affordable Housing Program Agreement Summary
Dated signature: May 23, 2003

Objectives:

Program:

Funding under this agreement will be used to create new, additional, affordable housing units for low to moderate income Islanders through rental, conversion and homeownership initiatives.

Administration:

Financial Provisions:

Accountability:

The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative

Putting Surplus Property to Work

The Surplus Federal Real Property for Homelessness Initiative (SFRPHI) will provide communities across Canada with up to $9 million worth of surplus federal property to address needs related to homelessness. The SFRPHI compensates federal departments and agencies at market value for surplus properties and transfers them at a nominal cost to community organizations, the not-for-profit sector and other orders of government for projects to help alleviate and prevent homelessness.

In addition to contributions of real property through the SFRPHI, additional funding for construction and renovation costs may also be available for eligible projects through related federal programs such as the Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) programs. The SCPI may also be able to assist with service and program costs.

Eligibility

Surplus federal properties are available to municipal, provincial and territorial governments and chartered non-profit community organizations working to alleviate or prevent homelessness. Proposals may range from residential or non-residential emergency services to permanent affordable housing. Applicant organizations should be able to demonstrate that their proposals under the SFRPHI will address community needs related to homelessness, are financially viable and are sustainable. Proposals should demonstrate the capacity of the sponsoring organizations to carry out the proposed project and satisfy all relevant planning and environmental requirements.

Federal Involvement

Three Government of Canada organizations — Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), the National Secretariat on Homelessness/Human Resources Development Canada (NSH/HRDC), and CMHC — act as partners at the national and regional levels in implementing the SFRPHI. To access a list of federal properties available for sale to the public call 1-888-govland or visit the PWGSC web site at: pwgsc.gc.ca/govland/

For further information on the SFRPHI and on availability of other surplus federal properties, contact the local or regional offices of HRDC, or PWGSC. For further information on the Government of Canada's National Homelessness Initiative visit: www.homelessness.gc.ca