MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments are investing a combined $1.6 million to establish the Housing Hub of New Brunswick, which will support housing and further development in rural areas.

“Housing affordability is a challenge in every part of New Brunswick and creates unique challenges in rural communities,” said Service New Brunswick Minister Jill Green, who is also minister responsible for housing. “We are acting to address the rural housing crisis by supporting the creation of a new non-profit organization to focus on accelerating the development of rural rental housing units in the province over the next decade.”

The organization will provide a co-ordinated approach, working with communities, the non-profit sector, provincial and federal governments, and the private sector.

“Our government’s recent fall economic statement is focused on building an economy that works for everyone – an economy that creates good jobs and makes life more affordable,” said federal Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who is also minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). “In our rural regions, the lack of adequate workforce housing is preventing companies from attracting the skilled workers they need to grow. The Housing Hub of New Brunswick will increase the availability of affordable housing, helping to support population growth and making our communities better places to live, work and raise a family.”

The provincial government is contributing $800,000 to the project through the Regional Development Corporation while the federal government is investing $800,000 through ACOA.

“The New Brunswick Business Council understands that an adequate supply of affordable housing is vital to the success of our communities and our provincial economy. Existing housing shortages, decreases in rural housing development, immigration and a retiring population are combining to create a heavier impact on rural communities, which account for approximately half of the population of New Brunswick. Recognizing the need to create housing equitably across the province, we have led the creation of the Housing Hub of New Brunswick Inc.,” said Alex LeBlanc, president and CEO of the council and interim president of the housing hub. “This new organization brings together partners from all levels of government, the private sector, and the non-profit and co-operative housing sectors. The housing hub is an action-oriented service that works directly with non-profits and co-operative housing organizations to get new projects started today. This important work will contribute to continued and sustainable growth for New Brunswick.”