SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - May 22, 2015) - The Government of Canada and the Province of Saskatchewan, along with community partners, today celebrated the groundbreaking for a new affordable housing project for individuals and families. The 40-unit facility, to be owned by Westgate Heights Attainable Housing Inc. (WHAHI), will serve the City of Saskatoon and surrounding area and include support services.

Kelly Block, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, on behalf of the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), along with the Honourable Jennifer Campeau, Minister of Central Services, on behalf of the Honourable Donna Harpauer, Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, made the announcement today.

"Our Government is helping to make affordable housing available in Saskatchewan and across Canada," said Parliamentary Secretary Block. "Once complete, these rental units will help individuals and families access safe and supportive housing that meets their needs."

"Today's announcement is yet another example of how we can all work together to keep Saskatchewan strong," said Campeau. "This project demonstrates the value of the public and private sectors working together to make a difference in the lives of all Saskatchewan people. This project will serve as another means for Saskatoon families with complex needs, along with individuals and families with lower incomes, to secure a better quality of life."

"Every family in Saskatoon deserves a safe and secure home," said Saskatoon Mayor Donald Atchison. "This partnership among governments, the private sector and faith-based groups is unique in Canada. For our part, the City of Saskatoon is providing financial incentives such as capital grants and property tax abatements; soon 40 families will have a place to call home and our city will be stronger because of it."

"The development of this quality attainable rental housing would not be possible without the support of our partners, CMHC, SHC and the City of Saskatoon," said WHAHI Lead Pastor Rev. Dr. Frank Jeske. "This 40-unit apartment building will provide housing for new Canadians and Canadians whose income does not allow for home ownership, with a special focus on single parent households. This project will not just provide housing - it will build relationships that will help fulfill life needs and skills through partnerships, respect and integrity."

The federal and provincial governments, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC), are jointly contributing $2.4 million under the Canada-Saskatchewan Investment in Affordable Housing 2014-2019 Agreement. In addition, the City of Saskatoon contributed $750,000 and five year tax abatement to the project. WHAHI contributed $3.45 million in mortgage financing and $1 million in land equity.

The 40-unit project will consist of one, two and three-bedroom units and a common space. WHAHI will provide internal and external services, including financial crisis support, daycare and employment assistance. Of the total, 30 affordable rental units will be for individuals and families and 10 units will be for single parent families who are unable to find or maintain secure housing without support services. WHAHI has also identified the need to support single mothers between the ages of 18 and 40 who face multiple challenges.

The funding comes as a result of the $92 million Canada-Saskatchewan Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) 2014-2019 Agreement. Under the IAH, the Province of Saskatchewan has the flexibility to design and deliver a range of affordable housing programs to address local housing needs and priorities.

Annually, the Government of Canada, through CMHC, invests approximately $2 billion in housing. These investments improve 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, and Aboriginal people. Economic Action Plan 2013 continued 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.

In October 2012, the Government of Saskatchewan released the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth: Vision 2020 and Beyond, which sets out the Government's vision for a province of 1.2 million people by 2020. The Plan identifies principles, goals and actions to ensure Saskatchewan is capturing the opportunities and meeting the challenges of a growing province. Since 2007, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested over $580 million to develop and repair more than 12,500 homes around the province.

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC help Canadians meet their housing needs, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642.

Contact Information:

Young Ong
Communications, CMHC

Leya Moore
Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services