With all the recent news surrounding the current housing crisis, and all three levels of government making significant announcements, DHBC thought it would be helpful to break it down.
Please remember that this is just a “Coles Notes” version of weeks of news surrounding this topic, so please visit your trusted local news source for detailed information.
Public housing to be built in N.S. for the first time in 30-years!
September 27, 2023
Funding: The Province is contributing $58.8 million for the project, while Ottawa (the Feds) is kicking in $24.4 million.
Details: 222 new government owned affordable housing units will be built in Bridgewater, Kentville, Truro, multiple sites in Cape Breton and Halifax Regional Municipality. The units will serve 520 families, individuals and low-income seniors, and 80 of them will be accessible.
The buildings will go on provincially owned land close to existing public housing developments and be operated by the Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency.
Timing: Expected to be "move in" ready by 2025-26.
The Province announces plans to fund two pilot projects.
October 11, 2023
Tiny Homes (on Cobequid Road in Lower Sackville)
Funding: Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) is donating the land, and providing custodial support (property maintenance, solid waste collection and snow clearing.) The Province is investing $9.4 million for initial construction, along with $935,000 per year for operating costs.
Details: 52 units to provide housing for about 62 people. The community will be a pilot project built by the Shaw Group and Dexter Construction. A not-for-profit entity will be established to own and oversee the community, operated by a board of management that will include representatives from the Province, the Municipality, the private sector and a not-for-profit agency.
Completion: 30 units will be move-in ready by next summer (2024), while the entire community is expected to be complete a year from now (October 2024.)
Funding: The Province will spend $7.5 million on temporary housing produced by Pallet, a North American shelter provider.
Details: 200 units across Nova Scotia, including 100 in HRM. The units will be single occupancy and have bed frames, mattresses and desks. There will also be bathrooms, laundry, and other on-site supports by local service providers, according to the announcement. The location of these shelters has yet to be determined & municipalities and service providers will be consulted. Communities with 10 or more of these units will have a community room for residents to gather and access services.
Emergency Weather Shelters
The Province will give $1.8 million to fund three overnight shelters in Amherst, Bridgewater, and an undetermined location in HRM.
And 11 organizations (8 in rural Nova Scotia and 3 in HRM) are getting more money ($570K) to expand diversion and eviction prevention support.
The Province is giving $180,000 to HRM to keep Shubie campground open this winter with RV and trailer hook-ups.
The Feds strike a deal with HRM!
October 12, 2023
Housing Accelerator Fund
Funding: HRM will get $79.3M from the Federal Government (over 4 years) to build more than 10,000 new units.
Details: HRM will be responsible for improving permitting processes, reducing upfront permitting costs and incentivizing the use of pre-approved building plans. In addition, an incentive program will be developed for converting commercial properties into residential areas and incentives will be created for small-scale residential areas.
The Federal money comes with conditions that include:
- 4 units per lot within the urban service boundary
- An affordable housing strategy and,
- Increasing student rentals.
Timing: The fund is billed as providing upfront money for the timely construction of new homes and additional money as results are achieved.
The Province introduces Bill 329.
October 12, 2023
The Province introduces a bill that will override some HRM rules around development.
The new amendments include:
- Creating a "trusted partner program" which will allow qualified developers to fast-track projects. The bill would require the city to work with the Province to allow pre-qualified developers to receive expedited approvals for residential units.
- Exempting long-term care homes from land-use bylaws, development agreements and policies.
- Freezing all Municipal permits and development fees for two years.
- Reducing minimum lot sizes for buildings.
- Accelerating development approvals.
- Allowing the Minister of Municipal affairs to approve any development across the entire HRM.
- Allowing the Minister to act without any requirement to consult the municipality.
HRM Council Approves Homelessness Strategy.
October 17, 2023
HRM Council designates new parks for tent encampments.
Approved designated sites are:
- Grand Parade, maximum of 8 tents.
- Victoria Park, max of 12 tents
- The berms on University Avenue, max of 6 tents.
- Martins Park, max of 4 tents
- Beaufort Park, max of 4 tents
- Saunders Park, max of 8 tents (if required)
For more information on what a “designated site” means and for the complete homelessness strategy presented click here.