Province making home ownership available in the North
- EFN Staff | October 03, 2015
Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) will be offering up to 50 existing social housing clients with higher incomes in northern communities the opportunity to embrace home ownership through an option to purchase the homes they are currently renting.
SHC has been collaborating with northern housing stakeholders to identify housing needs in communities and support the long-term sustainability of the province’s housing portfolio. This move to create a stronger housing market in the north is supported by many northern municipal leaders, including New North SANC Services Inc.
“Our government is pleased to work with Northern leaders on this initiative, which will respond to homeownership needs that are not being met by the market and stimulate development in the North,” Social Services Minister and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation Donna Harpauer said. “Our goal is to keep Saskatchewan strong by building a strong housing environment across Saskatchewan, including the North.”
The homes will be available in northern communities where SHC owns social housing stock. As there are homeownership opportunities in La Ronge, Air Ronge, Creighton and Denare Beach, these communities will not be part of this initiative.
“There is a great interest in home ownership among our work force in this region” Northern Village of Île-à-la-Crosse Mayor Duane Favel said. “We know that home ownership will help in fostering healthy families in the region.”
The sales of the social housing units will not result in a reduction of housing in the North, as the proceeds of the sales will be re-invested in additional new housing for northern communities.
These sales will promote a viable housing market in northern communities and not devalue private properties currently on the market. The sale of these units also provides an opportunity for existing clients who no longer require social housing to transition to homeownership.
Currently, in most northern communities, social housing tenants with higher incomes have limited or no private market options for homeownership. Many are unable to move out of their rental units in order to make room for households with lower incomes. Only existing tenants will be eligible to purchase the units at fair value and no tenants will be forced to move should they choose not to exercise the option.
Since 2007, through new initiatives and partnerships with municipalities and other government agencies, approximately 300 rental and homeowner units have been built or are under construction in northern Saskatchewan.