Federal government pledges $165M for Ottawa housing

OTTAWA — The federal government is providing $165 million to upgrade and extend the lifespans of more than 11,000 community housing units in Ottawa.

The money, to be delivered over the next nine years, will benefit 22,000 tenants, officials said at an announcement Thursday. More than $65 million of it is a forgivable loan.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted once more the importance of having a safe place to call home,” said Ahmed Hussen, minister of families, children and social development. “Our homes have become places of sanctuary, places of safety and refuge in these difficult times.

“During this crisis, the hardest-hit people are the ones who also have a lack of access to adequate housing.”

Hussen made the announcement with a host of local politicians on Thursday morning.

The money will go towards things such as energy efficient retrofits, renewing cladding, fixing elevators and making units more accessible, among other things.

Ottawa Community Housing is the city’s biggest landlord, with 32,000 tenants, and the fourth-largest social housing provider in Canada.

“With an aging portfolio and ongoing needs for capital repairs, establishing a sustained funding mechanism is the key to the long-term sustainability of our homes,” said Stéphane Giguère, CEO of the Ottawa Community Housing Corporation.

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