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Affordable Housing Project Begins Construction

KINGSTON, Ontario, October 7, 2005 — The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Kingston held a sod-turning ceremony today to mark the start of construction on a project that will create 14 units of supportive, affordable housing for single people struggling with homelessness. The project is funded in part under the Canada–Ontario Affordable Housing Program.

The announcement was made today by the Honourable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons and MP for Kingston and the Islands; the Honourable John Gerretsen, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and MPP for Kingston and the Islands; and the Mayor of the City of Kingston, Harvey Rosen.

"Thanks to the co-operative efforts between the various levels of Government and Kingston Home Base Non-Profit Housing, this greatly needed project has become a reality," said MP Milliken. "Shelter is one of the foundations upon which healthy communities and individual dignity are built, and the Government of Canada is committed to helping local organizations develop housing and homelessness solutions that meet the needs of their community."

"The McGuinty government knows that safe, affordable housing is the foundation for a better quality of life," said Minister Gerretsen. "As Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and a former Mayor of Kingston, I am especially pleased to see the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and non-profits such as Home Base Housing, working together to increase the supply of affordable housing in Kingston, and across Ontario."

The $924,000 project, including $406,000 from the Canada–Ontario Affordable Housing Program, will provide 14 new apartments at 41 Joseph Street in Kingston. The project is sponsored by Home Base Housing.

"The City of Kingston, as one of the financial contributors to this housing project, is pleased to celebrate with our community partners in the ground breaking for the Fresh Start Housing Development sponsored by Home Base Housing," said Mayor Rosen. "The Home Base Fresh Start housing program will not only offer a quality supportive housing alternative but will provide relief for the emergency shelters which operate above capacity in our community.

"Home Base Housing is on the front-line of assisting individuals and families who are homeless or living in inadequate and unaffordable housing. Our staff, volunteers and Board members are constantly struggling with the demands placed on them trying to provide help," stated Tom Greening, Executive Director of Home Base. "And yet, our struggle is nothing compared to the lives of the people who are living in poverty and who are homeless. It has been ten years since there has been new construction in Kingston of an affordable housing program. Home Base is pleased to take the initiative to work with the three levels of government to make these Fresh Start apartments become a reality. We also need to recognize the financial contributions made by hundreds of individuals, churches and businesses for this project. We look forward to being able to provide keys to the front doors of the new apartments and moving people out of the emergency shelters."

Today’s federal and provincial allocation will be complemented by more than $196,000 in municipal financial incentives.

In Kingston, the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), has contributed $2.2 million through the Canada–Ontario Affordable Housing Program Agreement.

The new federal-provincial agreement, signed on April 29, 2005, comprises a commitment of $301 million from each of the two levels of government. With this commitment, the federal, provincial and municipal governments will have invested at least $734 million over the life of the Canada–Ontario Affordable Housing Program. In total, the program will help 20,000 Ontario households by 2010.

For more information, please contact:

Kathie Howes
Canada Mortgage and
Housing Corporation
(416) 218-3488

Patti Munce
Office of Minister Gerretsen
(416) 585-6333

Geoff Coons
Executive Assistant to the Mayor
(613)546-4291

For more information visit www.mah.gov.on.ca