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Affordable Housing Project Begins Construction

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario, October 14, 2005 — The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and Niagara Region held a ceremony today to mark the start of renovation on a project that will create 19 units of affordable housing in St. Catharines under the Canada–Ontario Affordable Housing Program.

The Honourable Walt Lastewka, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, on behalf of the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing, and the Honourable Jim Bradley, MPP for St. Catharine's, Ontario Minister Tourism, and Minister Responsible for Seniors, on behalf of Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing John Gerretsen, Acting Niagara Regional Chair Brian Baty and St. Catharines Councillor Sheila Morra, on behalf of Mayor Tim Rigby, attended the ceremony.

"Housing is more than bricks and mortar, it is about having an address," said MP Lastewka. "With an address, citizens are able to contribute and participate fully in communities like ours. It is partnerships between governments and communities that enable us to provide them with an address."

"One of the McGuinty government's fundamental goals is to help provide affordable housing for Ontarians who need it," said Minister Bradley. "This project represents a significant step in achieving that goal by addressing the need for more affordable housing in Niagara Region. By investing in affordable housing, we are strengthening our communities."

The $1.3 million project, including $475,000 from the Canada–Ontario Affordable Housing Program, will provide 19 new apartments at 11 – 19 King Street in St. Catharines. The project is sponsored by MEIE Management, and the units will be occupied by seniors and single people with lower incomes.

"All levels of government have contributed to making this development possible with Niagara Region waiving its development charges for this purpose", said Mr. Baty, Acting Regional Chairman. "This building, once completed, will provide 19 1-bedroom units for single adults, who make up a major portion of Niagara's waiting list."

"I am delighted that this project is moving forward. It is a visible example of the commitment of the province to affordable housing and downtown revitalization. This is a recognition of the urgent need for housing that faces our city and I hope, a symbol of good things to come," said Councillor Morra.

Today's federal and provincial allocation will be complemented by more than $280,000 in municipal financial incentives.

In the Niagara Region, the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), has contributed $4.4 million under 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.

Jim Bradley, Sheila Morra, Brian Baty, David Eke, Walt Lastewka, G. Accursi

All levels of government working together to create affordable housing. (Left to right) Honourable Jim Bradley, Ontario Minister Tourism and Minister Responsible for Seniors, St. Catharines Councillor Sheila Morra, Acting Niagara regional Chair Brian Baty, David Eke, Chair, Board of Directors, Niagara Regional Housing, (above) the Honourable Walt Lastewka, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, (below) Gary Accursi, owner and developer of MEIE Management, attach the first piece of drywall to the steel frame.

For more information, please contact:

Nancy MacMillan
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(416) 218-3336

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

Denise Papaiz
Niagara Region
(905) 682-9201, ext 337

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