Innovative Program Increases Affordable Housing and Develops Job Skills in Sault Ste. Marie

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The Ontario government is investing $900,000 in an innovative project in Sault Ste. Marie that will help people move out of community housing and provide training to help social assistance recipients get good jobs.

The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board will use this funding to buy up to six homes in a state of disrepair and expand a training program at Sault College that teaches Ontario Works clients building and maintenance skills. The students will work with licensed contractors to renovate the homes, which the board will then sell to residents of community housing and low-income community members, helping them become homeowners and freeing up community housing units for other low-income residents.

“This is an innovative and sustainable project, that builds skills and homes for people who need them,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We need more creative ideas like this to help people find good jobs and achieve the dream of home ownership.”

The Sault College program helps Ontario Works clients learn in-demand skills, make contacts and build confidence to enter the workforce.

“Helping provide hands-on training that can lead to a job and a way out of poverty is a priority for our government,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “This exciting project not only benefits Sault Ste. Marie but provides an example of how communities can work with the province to help those in need of a hand up.”

Collaborating across ministries and with other levels of government to deliver priorities like housing and employment is part of our government’s plan to Build Ontario Together.

“I’m proud of the ingenuity of Sault Ste. Marie social services for putting together this unique plan that will make a real difference in the lives of so many people,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “I look forward to seeing people move into these homes.”

The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board will give qualifying families or individuals a forgivable loan to help with the down payment and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation insurance. The homes will be sold on a cost-recovery basis, keeping house prices affordable, and the proceeds will be used to buy more homes to renovate and re-sell.

“Our community is at its best when we look out for and help each other, and assisting residents into affordable home ownership is a terrific demonstration of this,” said Christian Provenzano, Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie. “I want to recognize the Government of Ontario for its support of quality, affordable housing, and I want to thank the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board for its leadership and contributions to our efforts to build a stronger community.”

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