Housing minister John Lohr during Friday's virtual announcement.
Housing minister John Lohr during Friday's virtual announcement.

New affordable units coming and a housing minister apology

“I would never think that’s something that would be said by anyone, let alone the minister of housing," MLA Suzy Hansen said.

Twenty new affordable housing units will be built in next year in Eastern Shore and Dartmouth, the province, HRM and the federal government announced Friday. Following the announcement, provincial housing minister John Lohr apologized for using the word “ghetto” when talking about affordable housing Thursday.

“I want to make an unequivocal apology,” minister Lohr said. “After the conversation I thought: Oh my goodness, what did I say.”

While responding to a question after Thursday’s cabinet meeting, Lohr said the province doesn’t want to create a low income “ghetto” and this is why they’re looking to build mixed-income developments for a 65-unit supportive housing project. He said Friday he regrets the word choice.

click to enlarge “The minister’s language is deeply offensive and hurtful to people who live in communities like mine across the province," MLA Suzy Hansen said. - VIA FACEBOOK
via Facebook
“The minister’s language is deeply offensive and hurtful to people who live in communities like mine across the province," MLA Suzy Hansen said.

NDP housing spokesperson and Halifax-Needham MLA Suzy Hansen called for an apology from Lohr Friday morning. “The minister’s language is deeply offensive and hurtful to people who live in communities like mine across the province,” Hansen said in an interview.

“I would never think that’s something that would be said by anyone, let alone the minister of housing.”

Hansen said the apology is appreciated, but she’ll be looking for the minister to make meaningful improvements to affordable housing. “Thank you for listening, but now I need to see you’re going to do the work.”

Concerns about Lohr's comments also came from the Liberals. MLA for Cole Harbour-Dartmouth and former HRM councillor Lorelei Nicoll tweeted Thursday that she was disappointed with Lohr's choice of words. 

click to enlarge Darrell Samson, left, the MP for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, led the virtual announcement of the 20-unit project. He was joined by federal minister Ahmed Hussen.
Darrell Samson, left, the MP for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, led the virtual announcement of the 20-unit project. He was joined by federal minister Ahmed Hussen.

20 new affordable units

The new project to increase the supply of “deeply affordable” housing is broken into two parts: one focused on supporting African Nova Scotians and the other for women and children experiencing homeslessness. It’s not clear how costly the deeply affordable units will be.

Akoma Holdings will lead a project to build four two-bedroom duplexes in Preston Township with $3.1 million from the feds and $350,000 from the province. Another 12 units will be built with the Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Eastern Shore, using $3.38 million from the national government and $150,000 from Nova Scotia.

This project comes a day after the 65-unit project in Dartmouth was announced.

"These projects, in addition to the one that was announced yesterday in Dartmouth, will quickly provide 85 new affordable homes for Halifax's most vulnerable population to help keep them safe,” Ahmed Hussen, federal minister of housing and diversity and inclusion said.

About The Author

Lyndsay Armstrong

Lyndsay is a city reporter covering all things Halifax, health and COVID-19. She is a data journalist who has covered provincial politics for allNovaScotia.com and represented Nova Scotia in a national investigation into lead in drinking water with the Toronto Star and Global.

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