Approximately $1.5 B to be cut from program by 2020
Affordable housing will be a priority for the St. John’s city council for the next four years, says Mayor Dennis O’Keefe.
St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe speaks to the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association at the Fluvarium on Tuesday. — Photo by Daniel MacEachern/The Telegram
O’Keefe told the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s monthly luncheon Tuesday that the federal government is cutting funding for affordable housing when it’s badly needed.
One of council’s focal points would be to “stop the federal government’s plan over the next 10 years or so to reduce its contribution to affordable housing. The reduction is in the vicinity, between now and 2020, it will be as much as half a billion dollars. After that, it will be another billion dollars,” said O’Keefe.
“So that’s a billion and a half dollars over the next number of years that will come out of affordable housing, at the very time when we as a city and a province and right across the country, at the very time that we need more affordable housing units.”
Council can’t do it alone, said the mayor.
“We need to have a building program that will be supported by the city, and we’re there. We are there. We will be there,” O’Keefe told the crowd at the association’s lunch at the Fluvarium.
“We need the province to be there also, and we need the federal government to be there also. And we need you to be there, more than anything.”
Darrin O’Keefe, president of the provincial branch, said the association has done a lot of work in the area.
“We’ve been involved in the mayor’s advisory committee on affordable housing. We’ve been involved with the mayor’s advisory committee on the municipal planning review,” he said, adding that the association has been a partner in the city’s annual housing forum as well as the NIMBY project — which aims to educate, and thereby reduce opposition from, residents who will be neighbours to controversial developments — and regularly consults with the city.