Auditor General highlights looming challenge with aging social housing infrastructure12 January 2012
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The social housing agreement between the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the New Brunswick Housing Corporation was a focus of Auditor General Kim MacPherson's latest report, released today.
MacPherson said she was interested in taking a closer look at the agreement because the social housing infrastructure in the province is aging while annual funding under the agreement is declining. According to her report, there are 13,157 social housing units throughout the province, with an average of 4,200 clients on a waiting list for housing since 2007. The average age of units owned and managed by the province is 40 years.
The Auditor General found that more than $25 million has been spent between 2009 and 2011 to renovate and upgrade social housing units. However, MacPherson said there are serious concerns about the adequacy of funding for necessary social housing infrastructure renewal.
The report notes that funding from the CMHC Social Housing Agreement will continue to decline until the agreement expires in 2034. Therefore, the gap between CMHC funding and necessary social housing expenditures will continue to grow. The report projected this gap will reach almost $50 million per year by 2019.
“The impact of declining funding will be more and more evident in coming years, making it vital for the Department of Social Development and the province to find solutions now to address the impending challenges,” said MacPherson in the report’s conclusion.
To help address these challenges, she also made recommendations for long-term planning and program evaluation as a means of improving the province's ability to provide the social housing programs needed by New Brunswick residents.
The Auditor General's 2011 report contains three volumes; Volume I on Provincial Wastewater Commissions was previously tabled in October 2011.Volume II focuses on matters arising from the annual financial audit of the province and Crown agencies. Volume III reports the results of Value for Money projects completed during 2011. All three volumes are available on the Auditor General website.
● Office of the Auditor General: www.gnb.ca/oag-bvg