QUÉBEC CITY, QUÉBEC--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2011) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the Canadian Press picture wire via Marketwire.

The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Laurent Lessard, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy and Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec region, are pleased to announce that the governments of Canada and Quebec are jointly contributing more than $1 million to allow for the construction of a 15-unit project for semi-independent seniors. The development of this great regional initiative will result from a total investment of over $2.1 million.

In addition to the Government of Canada, through Canada's Economic Action Plan, and the Government of Quebec, under the AccèsLogis Québec program of the Société d'habitation du Québec (SHQ), community partners contributed more than $300,000, including $61,000 from the Municipality of Lyster.

Moreover, $178,000 in financial assistance was provided in equal shares by the Government of Quebec and the Municipality of Lyster, under the Renovation Québec program.

"Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, our government is providing a hand-up to those who need it most here in Lyster and in all corners of the country," said Minister Paradis. "We are committed to making communities stronger through projects like this one. These investments help create new jobs and stimulate the local economy, while providing more access to safe, affordable homes for Canadian seniors."

"This project, which is a great example of what can be achieved when the community comes together, is perfectly in line with our government's objective to provide seniors of Quebec with more affordable housing options. Congratulations to all partners who joined the Société d'habitation du Québec in bringing this project to life," said Minister Laurent Lessard.

It should be noted that eight tenants of the project can benefit from the Rent Supplement program, which provides financial assistance to low-income individuals who would otherwise have to spend more than 25 per cent of their income on housing. The rent supplements provided will represent, over a five-year period, over $125,000 in additional financial assistance, including close to $113,000 from the SHQ and close to $12,000 from the Municipality of Lyster.

As well, the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique du Québec has committed to supporting the project with a grant of over $26,000 to ensure that the building meets the Novoclimat standard. The SHQ is giving particular attention to energy efficiency. In fact, since June 1, 2010, all projects developed under the AccèsLogis Québec program must be designed so as to obtain the Novoclimat certification.

Canada's Economic Action Plan provides $400 million, over two years, to build new rental housing for low-income seniors. Overall, Canada's Economic Action Plan includes $2 billion for new and existing social housing. These investments build upon the $1.9 billion five-year commitment for housing and homelessness programs made by the Government of Canada in 2008, which extended the Affordable Housing Initiative and the renovation assistance programs for low-income households for two more years. For Quebec, these combined contributions mean a joint investment of more than $820 million, which includes $538 million for Canada's Economic Action Plan.

In addition, Canada's Economic Action Plan provides for up to $2 billion in funds to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.

More information on this and other measures in Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government's plan to stimulate the economy and protect those hit hardest by the global recession, can be found at www.actionplan.gc.ca. To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit www.cmhc.ca/housingactionplan.

In the 2010-2011 budget, the Government of Quebec announced that it intends to build an additional 3,000 community housing units, bringing to 30,000 units its objective of producing new affordable social housing in Quebec. This represents an additional contribution of $210 millions under the AccèsLogis Québec program, and brings to $1.3 billion the total assistance provided since 2003.

Since 2003, more than 150 community housing units have been, or are being, developed in the Centre-du-Québec region, including 92 in the riding of Lotbinière, representing total investments of over $20.9 million by the governments and their partners.

The SHQ's mission is to facilitate citizens' access to appropriate housing conditions. For more information on this agency's programs and services, visit www.habitation.gouv.qc.ca/en/index.html.

Contact Information: Office of the Minister of Municipal Affairs,
Regions and Land Occupancy
Stephanie Cotnoir
Communications Agent
Office of Minister Finley
Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Societe d'habitation du Quebec
Francois Simard
Communications Advisor
418-643-4035, ext. 1341
Quebec Region
Julie Cohen