PORT HAWKESBURY: An affordable housing plan to develop vacant apartments received help from the provincial and federal governments.

A joint press release from the Governments of Nova Scotia and Canada said $1.2 million has been earmarked under the National Housing Strategy to preserve and improve 24 vacant affordable units in Port Hawkesbury that will be rented “significantly” below the market rate. The press release said the funding targets low income and seniors’ housing.

“We are pleased to be a part of this partnership, and to be part of a team working to address affordable housing needs in Port Hawkesbury,” said Breton Apartments co-owner Danita Rooyakkers. “Everyone deserves a high-quality place to call home that they will be able to afford for years to come. We’re proud to deliver inspired, forward-thinking developments where people can feel confident and be part of a community.”

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton told The Reporter housing is a “top priority” for town council and this announcement is a good first step.

“We have demonstrated need for housing now that we’ve completed our housing survey, and although these 24 newly renovated affordable apartment units will fill a small portion of the gap we currently have, much more housing is needed – especially physically accessible housing options, seniors housing, and really, a broad spectrum of housing for families, professionals, students and more,” she said. “Port Hawkesbury is a town on the move – and we are growing. Housing is an important puzzle piece to help with population growth and retention.”

The mayor said town council is determined to work with residents who sit on its housing advisory committee to ensure that the addition of the 24 affordable units will be the start of more housing investments and developments.

The press release noted that over 3,100 households currently receive a rent supplement, while the Canada-Nova Scotia Targeted Housing Benefit will support up to 1,700 households across the province.

“The struggles of the past year have only deepened the challenges that Canadians face every day. Most importantly, we have learned to respond quickly to support our community members who are in need of a helping hand,” added Cape Breton-Canso MP Mike Kelloway.