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P.E.I. Home Renovation Program expanded

Stefan Corkum, left, of Duffy Construction, and Matt Kingyens, centre, of Advanced builders, chat with Human Services Minister Tina Mundy following an announcement at Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside Wednesday.
Stefan Corkum, left, of Duffy Construction, and Matt Kingyens, centre, of Advanced builders, chat with Human Services Minister Tina Mundy following an announcement at Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside Wednesday, Feb. 6. - Colin MacLean
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

It’s a busy time in the Island’s construction industry and it’s likely about to get even more hectic.

Wednesday, the province announced a significant expansion to P.E.I.’s Home Renovation Program. It provides grants of up to $6,000, or $8,000 to people with permanent disabilities, to help homeowners who meet certain criteria make necessary renovations to their homes.

Human Services Minister Tina Mundy said the changes to the program were prompted by feedback from the public.

“We were hearing about the cutoff, the $35,000, that maybe that was something we should look at to help more moderate income Islanders as well,” Mundy said.

The grants are now open to anyone with a combined household income of less than $50,000, with a home valued at less than $200,000. Those qualifiers are up from the previous cutoffs of a maximum income of less than $35,000 and a home valued at less than $145,000.

The program is now also open year-round whereas it used to have a set application intake period, though the money is still handed out on a first-come first-serve basis. The funding is also now scalable, so the maximum amount a client can receive is based on their income.

Islanders can also now apply for funding from the program once every 15 years whereas it used to be once in a lifetime.

Mundy added that the province is aware it can be tricky finding a contractor on P.E.I. right now so the department is authorized to grant some leeway to successful applicants in terms of getting the work done. Ideally, the renovations should be completed within the calendar year, but there is some flexibility if need be. Islanders can also do the work themselves if they are able.

The program is also stackable with some energy efficiency funding from Efficiency P.E.I., so it’s possible for one project to access those two separate pots of funding.

 “It’s only going to make it busier, in my opinion, and it’s up to us to find a way to accommodate all the extra business.”
-Matt Kingyens, Advanced Builders

Duane MacDonald, general manager of Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside, where the announcement was made, said he talks to a lot of Island contractors who come through the doors.

Most companies are quite busy already, he said, but most of the projects this program would enable are smaller and can be done in between larger builds.

“Yes, there is a lot of them that are busy, but I think they’ll still benefit from it.”

He added that right now is a relatively good time to track down a contractor because most are still planning their building seasons.

Matt Kingyens, with Advanced Builders of Summerside, was at Callbeck’s on Wednesday picking up a few things and stuck around to listen to the announcement.

He welcomed the new funding criteria, both as a builder and as an Islander with family in that income range.

“The people up to the $50,000 wage – a lot of my friends are in that category and they weren’t eligible … so I’m happy they bumped it up, we all know renovations can be expensive,” he said.

 “It’s only going to make it busier, in my opinion, and it’s up to us to find a way to accommodate all the extra business.”

More information about the Home Renovation Program can be found online at www.princeedwardisland.ca/homerenoprograms and applications can be picked up at any Access P.E.I. location.

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