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October 9, 2008
For immediate release

Minister Currie Joins Provinces and Territories in Calling for a Federal Affordable Housing Strategy

Social Services and Seniors

Prince Edward Island and the rest of Canada face critical shortages of affordable housing, and the new federal government must be part of a national solution, say provincial and territorial ministers responsible for housing, including Prince Edward Island’s Doug Currie.

The Social Services and Seniors minister was in Ottawa this week to participate in a national meeting with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, housing organizations, and provincial and territorial ministers responsible for housing. They met to talk about the long-term commitments the provinces and territories need from the new federal government in order to meet Canada’s need for more affordable housing.

The federal government was not represented at the meeting and has not met with the provinces in almost three years to discuss the housing issue.

“Healthy, affordable homes are out of reach for too many people on PEI and across Canada,” said Minister Currie. “The other ministers and I have long been calling on Ottawa to offer a unified national housing plan that recognizes that all Canadians deserve a decent place to live.”

PEI is facing critical challenges in maintaining its existing housing stock and all provinces are having difficulty in responding to new demands for social housing. The ministers are calling on Ottawa to commit to extending the funding for three federal homelessness and housing programs that are set to expire on March 31, 2009. The programs are worth a total of $1.9 billion nationally, with PEI receiving $3.5 million per year as its share.

The current federal minister responsible for housing, Monte Solberg, said in April that there was no money in the federal budget to renew those programs and he would continue to review the issue. Last month, he said publicly that the programs would be renewed, but Solberg is not seeking re-election and his promise has not been officially confirmed by the federal government.

The recently released Conservative platform commits to a two-year extension of the affordable housing programs, but it does not indicate where the money would come from.

“The provinces don’t know what to believe. We need a firm commitment from the new Members of Parliament when they are elected on October 14. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the housing organizations, the ministers and I are saying this with a unified voice. We can fix the housing problem but we need Ottawa to cooperate,” said Minister Currie.

Media Contact: Stefanie Arduini
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