WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Nov. 8, 2013) - The Governments of Canada and Manitoba today celebrated the official opening of Living Gospel Church (LGC) Family Place located at 525/527 William Avenue. The seven-storey, 38-unit apartment building is providing quality housing for immigrant families and persons with disabilities living in Winnipeg.
The Honourable Peter Bjornson, Minister of Manitoba Housing and Community Development, and Lawrence Toet, Member of Parliament for Elmwood-Transcona, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), attended the opening of the new apartments.
"Every new family coming to Manitoba should have opportunities to put down roots and build their lives here," said Bjornson. "I am pleased we supported an affordable housing project that is helping immigrants with limited income obtain safe, decent, affordable housing."
"Our Government is committed to helping vulnerable Canadians become self-sufficient and lead successful lives in Winnipeg and right across Canada," said Minister Bergen. "We will continue to make our communities stronger through projects like this one. Our support helped create new jobs and stimulated the local economy, while providing more access to safe, affordable, homes for newcomers and people with disabilities."
LGC Family Place received an estimated $12.8 million in federal and provincial investment. In addition to the 38 units of new housing, the building includes a multi-purpose space, roof-top patio, storage lockers and shared laundry services. The main level accommodates the offices of Living Gospel Church Holdings Inc., as well as classrooms, and a large meeting/recreational space to serve the community and nearby non-profit support and service organizations such as Welcome Place and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba. LGC Family Place also received funding from the province's Community Places Program to support the meeting/recreational space. The City of Winnipeg provided a Neighbourhood Multiple Family/Mixed-Use Building Grant for up to $220,068 and Mayor Sam Katz provided $150,000 from Civic Initiatives.
Funding for this project was made available through Canada's Economic Action Plan and also through the Canada-Manitoba Affordable Housing Program. The federal and provincial governments are contributing equally to this overall investment of $176 million under the amended Canada-Manitoba Affordable Housing Program Agreement.
"Along with our partners, our Government's investments in affordable housing here in Winnipeg will improve the quality of life for those who need it most, in doing so, contribute to the economic and social well-being of the entire community," said MP Toet. "We remain focused on four priorities, as outlined by the Prime Minister, that Canadians care most about: their families, the safety of our streets and communities, their pride in being a citizen of this country, and of course, their personal financial security."
"This is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood because it replaces two older buildings that had lost their usefulness with a beautiful high-rise building that will be home for new Canadians," said Flor Marcelino, Minister of Multiculturalism and Literacy, and the MLA for the riding of Logan where the new building is located. "We are pleased to partner with Living Gospel Church and the federal government in helping newcomers get a good start to their lives in Manitoba."
"When this project began it was our goal to build a multipurpose building that includes a much needed affordable community housing within the city of Winnipeg to bring a greater impact, especially to immigrants and the youth," said Pastor Melkie Mebrat. "Now that we have completed the Living Gospel Church Family Place, it is with great pride that I can say we have not only met our goals but we have certainly exceeded them. With help from all levels of government and other donors, we have been able to build a wonderful complex that can now be called home for many new Manitobans. We are grateful for all the support we received. We also acknowledge the sincere efforts of our development coordinator, Phil Dlot of Hold Zone Inc. for his efforts in working with the Living Gospel Church and our partners to bring this facility to fruition."
Annually, the Government of Canada, through CMHC, invests approximately $2 billion in housing. Of this amount, $1.7 billion will be spent in support of close to 594,000 households living in existing social housing. In Manitoba, this represents an estimated 39,700 households. The remaining funding supports housing-related activities and affordable housing programs, including the Investment in Affordable Housing. 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. Economic Action Plan 2013 continues this commitment with a federal investment of more than $1.25 billion over five years to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing to 2019. The Government of Canada will ensure that funds provided to provinces and territories support the use of apprentices, which will support training of skilled labour. More than 142,000 households across Canada are no longer in housing need as a result of funding provided under the IAH from April 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013.
During the next three years, the Manitoba government will invest $100 million annually to restore and redevelop housing units in its portfolio. An additional $34 million will be dedicated annually to repair existing stock and provide quality home environments for tenants. Manitoba will also build 500 more social housing units and 500 more affordable rental units over the next three years. This is in addition to the 1,500 social housing and 1,500 affordable housing units that are on schedule for 2014. These investments, to build more affordable housing, are in addition to increased benefits for employment income assistance recipients and other low-income Manitobans announced in Budget 2013 through an annual increase of $6.3 million in RentAid shelter benefits. Better housing is a part of the Manitoba Building and Renewal Plan, which will also help build the province's critical infrastructure priorities including flood protection, roads, schools and health centres. Information about Manitoba's three-year plan is available at www.gov.mb.ca/housing/three_yr__plan.html.
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.