In 2016, the Albert County Community Health Needs Assessment identified a list of ten community issues that needed to be addressed. One was the need for more safe, affordable housing.
The objective of our group was to assess the needs for housing and to recommend a strategy to meet these needs. We met with representatives from a wide variety of government departments and non-governmental organizations that are involved with housing. These meetings were designed to familiarize us with past and current programs related to housing development. In addition, we created a Housing Needs Assessment Survey and mailed it to more than 1000 households from Hillsborough to Alma in May 2018. CCRC and the Bennett and Albert County Health Care (BACH) Foundation funded the survey.
In October 2018, we presented the survey results at a public meeting at Forest Dale Home. The results indicate that there is a definite need for a variety of types of housing. We presented the survey results to the three municipal councils and our MP, Alaina Lockhart, who expressed enthusiasm and provided information on the new Canadian Housing Program. We have also been in touch with a private individual who had expressed interest in the development of housing in our area.
We have applied for a grant from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation SEED Program. If approved, the grant will provide funds for the preparation of a detailed “Pre-Development Plan” that defines the type and quantity of housing to be built, the project management plan, and the financial plan. The CCRC has also provided funding for this planning process.
On May 28, 2019, the Safe Affordable Housing Committee will host a Community Meeting at 7pm at the Riverside-Albert Recreation Centre to present its recommendations for housing development, and ga-ther feedback and suggestions from community members. Other local wellness programs and organizations will be invited to provide information on their activities and services available.
We look forward to seeing you all at this meeting.
Roy Ries is the Chair of Rural Albert County’s Safe Affordable Housing Committee.