HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, October 4, 2006 — Low-income single parents attending university will have access to more affordable rental housing thanks to a student housing pilot program created under the Canada – Nova Scotia Affordable Housing agreement.
The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and Judy Streatch, Nova Scotia Minister of Community Services, made the announcement today. Rent supplements are now available for 30 low-income single parent students attending university full-time. This adds 15 more units to the original 15 supplements announced in November 2005.
"Canada's New Government is very proud to support this initiative," said Minister MacKay. “This affordable student housing program will provide single-parent students and their children with a quality environment, allowing them to remain in their community, close to their families and friends.”
To qualify for the affordable student housing pilot program, single-parent students must be enrolled in university full time, eligible for public housing and approved for Nova Scotia student assistance. Rent supplement assistance is available for qualifying students whose apartments have been safety inspected and approved by the local housing authority.
"As a mother and former educator, I understand the importance of an education in helping people realize their full potential," said Ms. Streatch. "We are making housing more affordable for single-parent students so they can focus on their education and take comfort in knowing their family has a warm, safe home."
Thirteen families are already participating in the program, which began last year at Acadia University, Cape Breton University and St. Francis Xavier University. Other universities like Mount Saint Vincent, Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s are providing additional assistance to meet the needs of single-parent students participating in this program.
"It's been really challenging to make ends meet while going to school and caring for my children," said Margaret, a second-year student at Cape Breton University. "When I started with the Affordable Student Housing program, I knew it was going to be a much better year. Rent is my biggest expense and now I don't have to worry about providing a good home for my family."
Single parents interested in applying for the affordable student housing pilot program should contact their local housing authority.
As of June 30th, 2006, $37.76 million has been committed by the federal and provincial governments and housing partners for the construction or renovation of over 900 affordable housing units. A total of $56.2 million will be committed under the Canada – Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Agreement by 2009.
Karen L. White
Information on the Canada – Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Agreement is available at local housing services offices or on the Department of Community Services website at www.gov.ns.ca/com/.