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Official Opening of The Bridges Project

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario, May 24, 2006 — The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Region of Waterloo, the City of Cambridge and Making Room Community Support for the Homeless Inc. today celebrated the official opening of The Bridges, a unique and innovative affordable housing and shelter project that creates a 40 bed shelter, plus 3 family shelter units and 20 units of affordable housing for homeless people in Cambridge under the Canada — Ontario Affordable Housing Program.

Cambridge MP, Gary Goodyear, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development; the Honourable John Gerretsen, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; Chair of the Region of Waterloo, Ken Seiling; and Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig presented a plaque commemorating the official opening of the building to Alfred J. Le Blanc, Chair of the Board of Directors of Making Room Inc.

"The Bridges is a good example of the Government of Canada's commitment to working with community groups and all levels of government in order to find effective solutions to homelessness in Ontario," said MP Goodyear.

"The McGuinty government is on the side of our most vulnerable. That's why one of our fundamental goals is to help provide affordable housing for Ontarians who need it," said Minister Gerretsen. "I'm pleased that we have been able to be a partner in this important project. The Bridges will make a significant difference in the lives of people in Cambridge who need support to make the successful transition from homelessness."

The $3.1 million project, including $557,000 from the Canada — Ontario Affordable Housing Program and $450,000 from the National Homelessness Initiative, will provide 20 affordable bachelor units in addition to 40 dormitory style shelter beds, 3 small family shelter units, a drop in centre, medical offices, a kitchen and administration offices. The facility, which is located at 26 Simcoe St. in the Galt area of Cambridge, is accessible with a handicap lift to access shelter and apartment floors. Each apartment has its own kitchenette and bathroom. The project is sponsored by Making Room Community Support for the Homeless Inc., a partnership between Cambridge Kiwanis Village Non-Profit Housing Corporation and Cambridge Shelter Corporation.

The federal and provincial funding is complemented by financial incentives of more than $587,000 from the Region of Waterloo and $200,000 from the City of Cambridge. The Region of Waterloo and the Government of Ontario also provide ongoing operating funding for the shelter.

"The Region of Waterloo has been a pioneer in Ontario in funding and facilitating affordable housing projects," said Regional Chair Ken Seiling. "With committed partners such as Making Room Inc., we have been successful in developing almost 900 units of affordable housing in our community since 2001."

"The City of Cambridge congratulates Making Room on the opening of The Bridges project," said Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig. "This facility will provide an important continuum of housing options for homeless individuals and families and other vulnerable populations in our community."

"Our Board was formed in late 2001 with a mandate to build a new homeless shelter and affordable housing complex," said Alfred J. Le Blanc, Chair of Making Room Inc. "To see our dreams become reality after several years of such extraordinary dedication and commitment by our volunteers creates great pride in all of us. We are tremendously thankful for all the support we received in accomplishing our goal."

The Canada — Ontario Affordable Housing program comprises a commitment of $301 million from each of the two senior levels of government. In total, the federal, provincial and municipal governments will invest at least $734 million in the program, which will provide affordable housing for 20,000 Ontario households by 2010.

Media contacts:

Nancy MacMillan

Patti Munce
Office of Minister Gerretsen

Rob Horne
Region of Waterloo

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