HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(Marketwired - May 24, 2013) - The Governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador today celebrated the official opening of the Mokami Status of Women Council Centre; a multifunctional centre for women in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC); along with the Honourable Paul Davis, Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation (NLHC), made the announcement today.

"Our government is helping to make affordable housing available in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada for those who need it the most," said Minister MacKay. "This new multifunctional centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is helping women access safe and affordable housing and build a stronger future for themselves."

"We are very proud to support this facility," said Minister Davis. "A combined investment such as this demonstrates a commitment from both levels of government to address housing issues for women. It also speaks to the high caliber of this facility which provides an environment where women can be safe, share experiences and engage in programs and services which can help improve their life circumstances."

The new building includes the Women's Centre offices, an operational social enterprise thrift store along with eight supportive-living housing units: four one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units.

The $1.2 million funding for this project was made available through the 2009 extension of the Affordable Housing Initiative. The federal and provincial governments are contributing equally to this overall investment of $69 million under the amended Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Affordable Housing Program Agreement. In addition, NLHC also provided $551,270 to the project through its Supporting Living Program and $330,000 through its Provincial Homelessness Fund, while the provincial government's Women's Policy Office provides $122,000 annually in operational funding. CMHC provided $10,000 in Seed Funding and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada provided more than $80,000 in Rural and Remote Homelessness funding from the Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

The project has its roots in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Status of Women Council, formed in 1979. Soon afterward it adopted the name the Mokami Status of Women Council. Their focus was to start a women's housing shelter in the area to address such issues as rape crisis, day care, women's rights, and housing.

"We are grateful to NLHC and CMHC for their immense support, and we are excited to embark on this new journey in supporting women who are experiencing challenges with housing due to multiple and complex needs," said Carol Best, Housing Director, Mokami Status of Women Council. "We will be using a holistic approach to provide services to women who are struggling with housing crises because of barriers to support services. We are very excited to share this new space with the women of Labrador."

A key objective for the provincial government is to stimulate the development of affordable rental housing by the private, public, and non-profit sectors. Priority is placed on developing rental housing for persons with disabilities, seniors, and people who require supports to live independently in the community. This work is in keeping with A Social Housing Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador -Secure Foundations, released by the provincial government in August 2009, which outlines a long-term vision for social housing. A copy of the social housing plan is available at www.nlhc.nl.ca/SocialHsingPlan/report.pdf.

The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will invest approximately $2 billion in housing this year. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of close to 594,000 households living in existing social housing. In Newfoundland and Labrador, this represents an estimated 11,400 households. These investments are improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians and households living in existing social housing, including individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, seniors, persons with disabilities, recent immigrants and Aboriginal people.

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-schl.gc.ca.

Media contacts:

Contact Information:

Carol Ann Carter
Director of Communications (acting)
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-1758, 709-631-9505

Jenny Bowring
Communications Manager

Katherine LeBlanc
Consultant, Communications and Marketing
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Jan O'Driscoll
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley

Carol Best
Housing Director
Mokami Status of Women Council
709-896-3484, ext.: 201