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.
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.”
I was disappointed to hear Minister Lohr make assumptions on affordable housing developments as “ghetto” after today’s cabinet meeting in response to @larochecbc question. Can we STOP using such language and by extension disparaging those living in affordable housing developments— Lorelei Nicoll (@LoreleiNicoll) January 27, 2022
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.