N.B. needs more affordable housing units, says association

The New Brunswick Non-Profit Housing Association says the province is at a 'critical juncture' when it comes to affordable housing.

Executive director Dan Murphy said there are 30,000 New Brunswickers in core need of affordable housing.

Murphy said the province's affordable housing stock sits at about 14,000 units – less than half of what's needed – and as operating units continue to expire, the viability of the aging units is in question.

He said he's hopeful a new provincial housing strategy will address viability, sustainability and growth of affordable housing in the province.

In February, the province said the Municipalities Act will be replaced by the Local Governance Act with the intention of giving broader powers to municipalities to enact bylaws.

Murphy said some of those bylaws could give local governments the power to create incentives to develop affordable housing units.

He said he's also pleased to see the recent work on homelessness in four New Brunswick cities, including Fredericton, which has launched a Mayor's Task Force on Homelessness.

In September, the provincial and federal governments announced more than $56 million in funding over two years to help New Brunswickers in need gain access to affordable housing.

That included $13.5 million to help address the increasing demand for repairs as social housing units age, $6.5 million to support the construction, repair and adaptation of affordable housing for seniors, and $32.8 million to double funding levels under the Investment in Affordable Housing program.