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Councillors Bring Forward Municipal Housing Entity Motion

By Tim Herd Sep 27, 2022 | 7:35 AM

The exterior of Saint John City Hall is pictured in this file photo. Image: staff photo

Saint John council has unanimously approved a motion aimed at helping to address the city’s housing crisis.

On Monday, councillors Brent Harris and Joanna Killen brought forward a motion calling for the city to create a municipal housing entity, or MHE.

An MHE is a program operated or sponsored by a municipality or local housing authority that can subsidize or enable the construction, ownership, or financing of affordable housing or other housing.

Harris said it can take various forms and he hopes city staff will look at possible models that suit Saint John.

“We both believe it’s time that we look at the opportunity for standing up an entity that wakes up every morning with one thing on their mind: how do we deliver homes to the people that need them?” said Harris.

“It’s clear that cities and their government will once again have to play a major role in supporting the housing needs of its people.”

Killen said this initiative would allow the city to explore funding opportunities that are only available to municipal housing entities.

“We need to answer a call to support our incredible non-profit housing network and guide those who want to get into building affordable housing, starting co-ops, and wanting to contribute to solving this issue,” said Killen.

City Manager John Collin addressed the housing crisis within Saint John and said he recognizes the urgency that is required to handle it.

Collin also noted that it will take time to create a municipal housing entity.

“We also have to remember that the work plan for 2022 is still in progress, and is still quite full,” he said.

However, Collin added that a municipal housing entity has to be in place.

“This is a six-to-eight-month project once you start it in terms of getting all of the necessary consultations done, engagement of stakeholders, legal considerations, government considerations,” he said.

“Although we haven’t designed Work Plan 2023 yet … if I was to hazard a guess this evening, I would hazard that this is done and ready to be implemented in the first half of 2023.”


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