Housing for Hope representatives react to the news of wining $100,000 through Aviva Canada’s Community Fund competition.

ANTIGONISH: They won.

On December 5, Aviva Canada announced Housing for Hope in Antigonish as one of the $100,000 winners in the Aviva Community Fund contest.

Housing for Hope, which won in the community development category of the contest, is an initiative of the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society (AAHS). The society is building 10 affordable housing units and the $100,000 will go towards a community room. This will be in addition to the four affordable housing units already in place as part of Riverside Estates.

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AAHS chair Colleen Cameron chair said she was pleased with the news, noting they were confident they would get something in terms of funding.

“The tears were coming because it’s something that we’ve been working on, and this particular piece, it was so intense,” she said. “The passion that we have for the community room is a big part of this because we’ve been arguing with a lot of people that this is really what’s important in this.”

Cameron said they were committed to building the community room and if the funding didn’t come through, they would have tried to raise more money.

“This is a huge relief,” she said. “Our goal is another $250,000 to help us with the units.”

Once the 10 units are completed, with AAHS hoping to start by this winter, the 14 units will house 37 people. The Housing for Hope section on the Aviva Web site stated the community room is one of three main ingredients in the Housing for Hope initiative, with the remaining two coming online last April.

“The Community Room will also create a space for social and educational events where residents and the wider Antigonish community can meet,” states the Web site. “This could create meaningful relationships that enhance residents’ feelings of belonging, and raise the awareness, involvement and financial support of the broader Antigonish community in responding to affordable housing needs in the area.”

Photo by Matt Draper
The crowd at the People’s Place: Antigonish Town and County Library were all in good cheer following the announcement of Housing for Hope receiving $100,000 through Aviva Canada’s Aviva Community Fund competition.

Cameron said AAHS is still waiting on the building permit, which she said they expected to have seven weeks ago.

“We’re hoping we’ll get the permit very shortly and get just the foundation poured,” said Cameron. “Then in the spring, we’ll start in the first of May or the end of April, [depending on] whatever the weather is like. We would hope to have people in by August-September. We have everybody lined up because we were expecting to start this a few months ago.”

The price tag for the final 10 units and the community room is around $1.5 million.