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Province announces new transition housing in P.E.I., releases update on affordable housing actions

Social Development and Housing Minister Ernie Hudson is shown with Dianne Smith of Smith Lodge. - Contributed
Social Development and Housing Minister Ernie Hudson is shown with Dianne Smith of Smith Lodge. - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The province has released its first report card on progress made in addressing P.E.I.’s chronic affordable housing shortage.

The progress report, released by the Department of Social Development and Housing, included details on the Housing Action Plan, launched by the previous Liberal government in July of 2018. The plan was released by the previous Liberal government and was billed as a comprehensive strategy to deal with the shortage of affordable rental housing.

Read the progress report here

Since the election of the Progressive Conservatives last April, the rental vacancy rate in P.E.I. has improved slightly from 0.3 per cent in fall 2018 to 1.2 per cent as of last October. P.E.I. still has the lowest vacancy rate in Canada.

The Housing Action Plan included a total of 55 action items, of which the province claims 46 have either been completed or are in progress. Thirteen are considered complete, according to the department. 

Since July 2018, the province has begun construction on 372 units of affordable housing. Sixty-five of these units have been completed, including a 44 units of seniors housing in Charlottetown, an apartment complex in Alberton with 12 affordable units and a nine-unit seniors complex in Summerside. 

A list of social and affordable housing construction programs announced by the Province since July of 2018. Source: Department of Social Development and Housing.
A list of social and affordable housing construction programs announced by the Province since July of 2018. Source: Department of Social Development and Housing.

 

Individuals living in these units have been removed from the housing registry. A statement from the department indicated the majority of the remaining 307 units under construction are slated for completion this spring or summer.

There are currently around 1,000 individuals on the housing registry in P.E.I. These individuals would be eligible for these units.

Currently, 1,150 Islanders are receiving a rental subsidy from the province. This is far above the originally planned 275 rental subsidies planned for 2018-2019 originally set out in the 2018 plan.

The housing plan also called for the completion of 100 new private nursing home beds by June of 2019. The new update indicates that 50 of these new beds were completed as of December 2018. Another 32 beds were completed as of December, while another 30 beds will open up in Summerside later this spring.


Affordable housing builds

  • 372 units either complete or under construction
  • $25 million allocated for affordable housing since July 2018
  • 65 units completed
  • 1,000 people currently awaiting affordable housing

The province has also improved supports for homeless individuals in Charlottetown. The province extended funding for the Blooming House women’s shelter until March 31, 2020, and recently opened a community outreach centre at 211 Euston St. 

On Thursday, the province also announced it has purchased Smith Lodge, a former community care facility in Charlottetown. The lodge will be operated as a 28-bed transition house for men, women and families. 

Smith Lodge closed in late January due to the impending retirement of its owner. The former residents have since found other housing, according to a statement from the province.

“Adding more transitional beds in Charlottetown will help shelters such as Bedford MacDonald House and Blooming House that are seeing increased demand,” Hudson said in a media statement.

“Smith Lodge will provide safe and supportive housing to Islanders at a vulnerable time in their life and also offer them assistance and encouragement as they get back on their feet.”


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