On hand for Wednesday’s funding announcement were, from left: Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Chief Operating Officer Louie Bruni, Sault MP Terry Sheehan, Stephanie Hopkin, Board Chair, Sault Ste. Marie Housing Corporation and Sault Mayor Matthew Shoemaker.
Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan announced more than $3.5 million in funding for vulnerable housing locally on Wednesday.
The project, to be operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Housing Corporation, will support repairs to 650 homes in the Sault.
The Corporation owns 700+ rent-geared-to-income properties and more than 400 subsidized private sector units in the city.
The Federal funds will be drawn from the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF), part of Ottawa’s $82 billion National Housing Strategy.
“I know that a portion of these homes are also geared to women and children,” said Sheehan. “Women and children are sometimes leaving some very difficult situations, with violence. It’s really important to find a place to stay that is safe and affordable. These 650 homes are really important in providing a roof over their head, and also a community of support and the services that can (reach) them because they have the opportunity to live safely.”
Sault Mayor Matthew Shoemaker said housing units falling into disrepair and “offline” would represent a significant setback as the city and senior levels of government look to address urgent affordable housing needs and now and in the future.
“We need 1,500 homes in the next six or seven years and three thousand in the next ten, Shoemaker said, “and if we lose units that just adds to the total that we’d have to build. If we can keep units online, that’s just as impactful as building new units.”
Stephanie Hopkin, Board Chair, Sault Ste. Marie Housing Corporation, called the repairs vital.
“As a result of the investment, we are able undertake many upgrades for our housing stock locally including right here at our Second Line hub, where we have installed new HRVs in the new buildings as well as new windows and doors in various units,” said Stephanie Hopkin, Board Chair, Sault Ste. Marie Housing Corporation.
“It’s vital that we are proper custodians of our existing housing infrastructure so that we can continue to build momentum in our strategic priority of increasing the gross number of affordable housing units in Sault Ste. Marie.”
The local repairs project is expected to be completed by January 2026.