REGINA DEVELOPER CRITICISES GOVERNMENT FOR LACK OF FUNDING FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
For Immediate Release.
Regina, SK, March 15, 2022. Regina-based real estate developer Avana visited the Legislative Assembly on Monday to raise awareness around the lack of funding for affordable housing in the province.
On March 10, 2022, the Government of Canada, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation with support of the City of Regina, announced over $30 million in funding through the National Housing Strategy to build 116 affordable housing units in Regina. The project is currently under construction in the city’s east end and is expected to be completed in spring of 2023.
Jennifer Denouden, President and CEO of Avana, was not inspired by the commentary of the Minister of Social Services, Lori Carr. “The Ministry of Social Services and the Government of Sasakcthewan used their voice to express their pride in the work they are doing to support folks facing barriers to housing. If turning 3000 women and children fleeing intimate partner violence away from just one shelter in Regina is a source of pride then maybe the Minister is in the wrong portfolio”.
Avana currently has over 600 residential units built or being built in Regina, with almost 80% of them being designated as affordable units under metrics governed by the City of Regina. Avana currently has a further 700 units currently in planning in Regina.
Avana has dedicated 39 out of the 116 units of the new east-end development as second and third-stage housing for women and children fleeing intimate partner violence. The 39 units will be provided to a local community group and filled by the families they support. The Avana Foundation, the companies not-for-profit arm, will provide a $1.2 million operational grant to allow the community group to provide on-going programs and services. Saskatchewan is one of only two provinces in Canada that does not currently budget any operational funding specifically for community organizations who support families and individuals fleeing interpersonal violence.
“As a successful, privately-owned enterprise we can use our voice to express our disappointment with our provincial government, I think we turned a lot of heads coming to the Legislature today,” says Denouden. “We are a purpose-led business who are using our for-profit business to influence positive change, we aren’t just looking to put a band-aid on the housing problem within our communities, we want whole-sale systemic change”.
Minister of Social Services Lori Carr congratulated Denouden on Avana’s 116 unit project following Question Period on Monday. “Applications are made and we get many applications and unfortunately we just can’t fund them all.”
Denouden says the government is completely missing the point. “We aren’t here looking for money, we are to ask the government to admit the system is broken. Saskatchewan residents, our most vulnerable, are falling through the cracks. We are here to get this government to take this issue seriously and to work with us and like-minded organizations towards a solution for all. Unfortunately, this government is offering more and more of the same, if they can’t even admit their system isn’t working, then I guess they can’t be part of the solution”.
Avana is a Saskatchewan-based real estate enterprise proud of its female-led, family-owned values. Since its founding in 2014, Avana has emerged as a leading developer in Regina with accolades for its high-growth successes and social responsibility. Avana is dedicated to empowering women and creating affordable and sustainable housing strategies in the communities they operate in.