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July 22, 2004
For immediate release

Charlottetown to Get More Affordable Housing

Health and Social Services

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Twenty-two affordable housing units for low to moderate income Islanders will be built in this city thanks to the combined efforts of the Government of Canada, the Province of Prince Edward Island, the Kiwanis Club and the City Charlottetown.

Abe Zakem House, named after Kiwanis charter member Abe Zakem, will be located on the corner of Water Street and Weymouth Street, on land made available by the city.

The project is being funded by the Canada-PEI Affordable Housing Agreement, a joint federal and provincial initiative administered by the province, that forges new, creative partnerships with community organizations and private developers across the province to develop affordable housing.

Shawn Murphy, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, sees the Canada-PEI Affordable Housing Agreement as a demonstration of the federal government’s “commitment to building healthy communities.”

“The Kiwanis project is the first project to be developed through this agreement, and hopefully there will be many more,” said Murphy. “The flexibility of the agreement allows government to work with service organizations such as the Kiwanis to develop good quality affordable housing for Islanders.”

Chester Gillan, Minister of Health and Social Services, applauded the Kiwanis Club for developing the Abe Zakem House project. “We know from research that the quality of housing is a determinant of health,” Minister Gillan noted. “These types of partnerships are the way of the future. I congratulate the Kiwanis members for their vision and commitment. The flexibility of the Canada PEI Affordable Housing Agreement means that we can develop more partnerships and work together with members of the community to develop similar projects in both urban and rural areas of the province.” The Canada-PEI Affordable Housing Agreement is contributing $503,500 to the Abe Zakem House project, while the Kiwanis Club is providing $250,000. Additional support is being provided by the province and municipality. In return, the Kiwanis Club will rent these units at affordable rates for 10 years to low to moderate income Islanders.

Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said he is pleased that the city was able to work with the Kiwanis to bring the project to the downtown area. “This type of development has social and economic benefits for the residents of Charlottetown. We are pleased to be partnering with Kiwanis and with both governments in the development of Abe Zakem House.”

Kiwanis’ Abe Zakem House Inc. President Mark Belfry said the organization has put an enormous amount of effort into the development of this project. “The development of Abe Zakem House is a practical way for us to reach out and serve our community – that’s an important and integral part of the Kiwanis mandate.”

Currently, there are approximately 600 families on a waiting list for affordable housing across the province. Over the next four years, the Canada-PEI Affordable Housing Agreement will work towards creating an additional 120 affordable housing units to help meet the needs of Islanders.

For more information on the Canada-PEI Affordable Housing Agreement contact the Department of Health and Social Services.

Media Contact: Janet Wood
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