10 Scarborough housing projects share in $1B federal pie

Ten Scarborough housing projects are getting a piece of a $1-billion pie served up by Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the minister of state for seniors announced recently.

At Marine Heights Drive Co-operative Homes on March 15, MP Julian Fantino said 172 housing co-operative and urban native non-profit projects in Ontario will receive $150 million to cover renovations and retrofitting.

“You can see there’s no let-up about the kinds of outreach and support that we are providing to communities and co-op housing,” Fantino said. “For us, our focus is the economy and jobs, it’s not on the election.”

Thirty-two housing projects are located in Toronto. Among the 10 in Scarborough, Alex Girvin Co-op Homes, Tapscott Village and Marine Heights Drive Co-operative Homes will receive funding.

“It’s well worth noting that [the grant] marks the largest investment in affordable housing in over two decades,” said David Granovsky, government relations coordinator for the Co-operative Housing Federation.

Observer Radio News: Julian Fantino, minister of state for seniors, announced $1 billion in federal funding for housing projects across Canada, including 10 in Scarborough. Maryam Shah has more on the March 15 announcement.

[audio:http://www.torontoobserver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/MS_social-housing-audio.mp3]

June Viles, manager at Alex Girvin Co-op, said the federal money meant her co-op’s own money was not used.

“We got some repairs done and we didn’t have to take money out of the reserve,” she said.

Co-ops that have not received grants in the recent past get precedence over other applicants. According to Dean D’Souza from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), there are no other conditions for the grant application.

The 10 co-ops in Scarborough have received almost $3.5 million, with Marine Heights taking the lion’s share at $1.3 million.

The money covers renovations, general improvements, energy-efficiency upgrades and changes to accommodate persons with disabilities.

Like Fantino, Granovsky touted the job creation following the distribution of the grants.

“The renovations we see here today at Marine Heights and similar work done at [other co-ops],” he said, “will create meaningful jobs for Ontarians while ensuring that this valuable source of housing will be renewed for future generations.”