$971K invested in Grande Prairie seniors and affordable housing upgrades

Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson announces $971,000 in funding for affordable housing upgrades at the Heritage Lodge in Grande Prairie, Erica Fisher

The federal and provincial governments have invested nearly a million dollars into upgrades for local affordable, seniors and special needs funding. $971,000 will be spent to do renovations and repairs on buildings owned or operated by the Grande Spirit Foundation, the Grande Prairie Residential Society and the Métis Urban Housing Corporation.

Provincial Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson was in the city for the announcement. She notes that many seniors lodges across the province are more than 30 years old.

“So of course we want to make sure that there’s good facilities for seniors in the community to have that, so this will go a long way to supporting people to be in update facilities so they have all their safety and comfort supported.”

Over the next four years, the provincial government is investing $937 million in affordable housing, which has been topped up with $43 million from the federal government. More than $57 million is being handed out across Alberta for projects through 2018.

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Kelly Wagar with Canada and Mortgage Housing Corporation says it’s important to continue to invest in affordable housing and seniors buildings.

“Most people associate affordable housing lately with new units, but it’s also about maintaining the existing stock that we’ve got, and so funding programs like this for the repairs and renovations are critical to make sure that there’s safe and affordable housing across the province.”

One of the biggest local projects underway will be to upgrade the boiler at Heritage Lodge and install new phone and nurse call systems. Alice Fortier is a life-long Grande Prairie resident and has lived at the home for the past three years. She says she is encouraged to see more investment from both governments.

“It’s so needed here. We need way more facilities like this here, because of the growth of the city and the outlying area; there’s a lot of people come in from the outlying area.”

She also has high hopes for the new nurse call system, as she’s concerned it’s too hard to reach if a resident has fallen. Other possibilities for upgrades are furnace and hot water tank replacements, and fire system upgrades.

In total, the Grande Spirit Foundation will receive $809,000, the Métis Urban Housing Corporation will get $90,000, $48,000 will go to the Grande Prairie Residential Society, and $24,000 has been earmarked for the 101 Avenue Residence.

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