NOTE: The following is a news release on behalf of the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission.
A new report prepared by the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission details the province’s urgent need for improved affordable housing.
The 61-page report, titled Charting a new course for affordable housing in Nova Scotia, includes 17 recommendations and 60 meaningful actions to the provincial government to help meet the diverse housing needs of Nova Scotians. The report was submitted to Infrastructure and Housing Minister Geoff MacLellan today, May 31.
The commission calls on the province to implement a number of quick-start investments that include a $25 million commitment to support between 600 and 900 households in housing need in the very near term. While both short- and long-term action is necessary, these investments can help create immediate change at this important tipping point and pave the way for continued meaningful and transformational change to the province’s public housing model.
The commission’s recommendations are rooted in its belief that everyone has the right to adequate housing and that housing is a critical sector of our economy and a social determinant of health. The recommendations are thoughtful, broad and balanced, and rooted in evidence and best practices. They chart a new course for resilient, vibrant communities in which all Nova Scotians can live in safe and affordable homes.
Over the past six months, the commission has drawn on the insights and experiences of 36 experts and more than 2,000 Nova Scotians through an extensive public consultation process. This process included more than 1,200 survey respondents, more than 570 suggestions from the public online and more than 400 participants in virtual workshops and focus groups. The commission is grateful for those who shared their ideas and knowledge, helping inform the recommendations.
The Affordable Housing Commission was formed by government in response to the province’s affordable housing crisis, which has been exacerbated throughout the pandemic. The commission was mandated to examine the current state of affordable rental housing and recommend meaningful action to ensure better affordable housing options for Nova Scotians. Its 17 appointed members come from various sectors and regions across the province and possess an array of experiences and ideologies.
The pandemic has exacerbated Nova Scotia’s affordable housing crisis. Strong, decisive and immediate action from our government is needed. We call on the province to act now. There is no magic solution, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. The one silver bullet is our ability to work well with each other, and as partners we can chart a new course to meet today’s demand and plan for tomorrow. – Ren Thomas, associate professor at the Dalhousie University School of Planning and Affordable Housing Commission co-chair
We heard from stakeholders that we must transform our public housing model to meet the diverse and changing needs of our population. Government housing organizations in other parts of Canada and the world have adapted and transformed to meet the needs of those they serve, and we have to do the same. – Eiryn Devereaux, deputy minister, Infrastructure and Housing and co-chair, Affordable Housing Commission
- 12.1 per cent of Nova Scotians lived below the poverty line in 2019 – the second highest rate in Canada – and 11.4 per cent (45,100) of Nova Scotian households are in core housing need
- Almost 70 per cent of public housing tenants and 60 per cent of rent supplement clients in Nova Scotia are women; people of African descent and other racialized groups continue to experience systemic barriers when they try to access affordable housing
- Nova Scotia’s population grew from 942,970 in 2016 to 979,449 in 2021 (as of Jan. 1), but the housing supply has not kept pace with demand