Développement communautaire

Niveau de financement : de 50 000 à 100 000 $

Description :

AAHS recognizes that access to affordable housing is a poverty reduction strategy. With that in mind AAHS is passionate and committed to creating models of affordable housing that address basic needs for good quality homes. We are building 10 new affordable housing units this fall/ winter. To tie our socially, financially and environmentally sustainable housing initiative together, a Community Room is essential.

A Community Room is one of three key ingredients in our Housing for Hope initiative. The remaining two -- the Community Navigator (CN) position and the Tenant Advisory Group – have been in place since Phase 1 was opened in April 2017. The CN helps residents identify and enhance their personal gifts, access community supports and services, and assume greater control over their lives. The Tenant Advisory Group, led by the residents, currently meets bi-weekly off-site to build relationships, discuss and address any issues that arise. The inclusion of a Community Room in Phase 2 will create a space for these meetings on-site and provide office space for the CN.

The Community Room will also create a space for social and educational events where residents and the wider Antigonish community can meet. This could create meaningful relationships that enhance residents’ feelings of belonging, and raise the awareness, involvement and financial support of the broader Antigonish community in responding to affordable housing needs in the area.

The need is widespread. Local university students, who are able to pay higher rents, take up housing stock, placing additional stress on the availability of affordable housing. The Director of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, Lucille Harper sees the impact of poor or inadequate housing on a daily basis. She finds it is “especially hard for senior women, newcomers with families on limited incomes, and other groups such as young women who can’t live at home.” In August 2016, Eastern Mainland housing had 247 applications on file for affordable housing in the area. Based on our experience in the community, the actual number in need is likely higher. We are often approached by single parent families and people living with disabilities looking for housing. There are almost no affordable rental units in the area serving this population.

Another indicator of need is the high rate of food bank usage in Antigonish – 40% higher than the rest of the province. People who experience food insecurity often experience housing insecurity trying to cover the cost of food and rent on low incomes. Research (Raphael, 2016) shows that housing insecurity and poor quality housing adversely affects people’s physical and mental health.

For our Society, Housing for Hope is much more than simply building houses. We are building homes and communities. Too often affordable housing projects miss the important goal of creating social inclusion for people who live on low incomes and/or with disabilities. Being part of a community and having a welcoming, safe and secure home enables people to have hope in their lives, to have choices and to fully participate in shaping their futures.

With the Community Navigator, Tenants Advisory Group and Community Room, we are creating a unique model of what socially inclusive affordable housing could look like in Canada, one that could be replicated elsewhere. We know it works. Feedback from tenants living in Phase 1 demonstrates this (see Faye’s story) https://www.antigonishaffordablehousing.ca/home-at-last

When completed, the 14 units will be home to 37 people, who will feel a sense of inclusion and pride in their homes and the community around them. Through its visibility in the neighbourhood, the initiative will create awareness of how housing and poverty interact and influence each other. We believe this, will develop deeper community support and partnerships to enable us to continue to develop more affordable Housing for Hope in the future.

Antigonish Affordable Housing Society (AAHS)

Emplacement : Antigonish