Affordable Housing

Although about two-thirds of Nova Scotia households are homeowners – which is one of the highest rates in the country – the dream of homeownership is out of reach for many people.

The team at Housing Nova Scotia recognize they’ve “got some work to do” to break the barriers to home ownership and address that gap.

Housing Nova Scotia was founded in 2013 in order to meet the realities and chal- lenges facing today’s families and commu- nities. After collecting feedback from more than 500 individuals and organizations, they crafted the province’s first long-term housing strategy that emphasized afford- ability, choice, partnership and community- building.

Housing Nova Scotia’s five goals are to foster healthy, vibrant communities; ensure affordable housing choices for owners and renters; provide paths to equity and home ownership; build partnerships that draw on the strengths of local communities, businesses, and governments; and serve seniors, people with disabilities, and vulner- able Nova Scotians with independence and dignity.

One of the major hurdles for Nova Sco- tians who want to purchase their first home is down payments – and many people may never overcome the cost of full market rental rates to adequately save for their own home.

Housing Nova Scotia will be creating new homeownership programs – helping people save for down payments and build equity – as well building moderately-priced homes for purchase – such as in Halifax’s Bloomfield development.

“Bloomfield will be the province’s first mixed-market community, with more than 400 new homes ranging from townhouses to mid-rises – and 40 per cent of them will be affordably priced,” says Troke.

They’ve also partnered with Habitat for Humanity, the YWCA, and the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association to donate land for affordable housing, help women in shelters find supportive housing, and build modest sized homes at a modest price for first time homebuyers.

The Housing Strategy will help seniors comfortably age in place within their own homes by renovating their current homes to adapt to their needs – like overhauling bathrooms, or making room for a caregiver to move in.

Housing Nova Scotia will also provide people with disabilities with opportuni- ties for social inclusion by building diverse housing that integrates supported and accessible units directly into the develop- ments.

“When Nova Scotians buy a home, that investment is a significant contribu- tion to our economy and it helps to create good jobs,” says Troke. “It’s also an effective retention tool, as homeowners tend to stay longer when they decide to lay down roots.”

To learn more about Housing Nova Scotia initiatives, please visit www.housingns.ca

Heather Laura Clarke

Heather Laura Clarke

Heather Laura Clarke is a freelance journalist whose work regularly appears in many Atlantic Canadian newspapers and magazines, including The Chronicle Herald, Metro, Hub Now, Business Voice, Dugger's, Progress, East Coast Living, Bedford Magazine, and Southender Magazine. She also has several corporate clients.