City to make land available for affordable housing micro-units

In an effort to help end chronic homelessness in Fredericton, City Council has voted to declare two parcels of City land surplus and sell them for one dollar each to build affordable housing micro-units.  The land will go to an entity identified at a later date by the Fredericton Housing First Fund, who will help coordinate the overall project.

The two properties, which are vacant and underused, are located at 551 Regent Street, near the intersection of Regent and Albert streets and 155 St. Mary’s Street, near the intersection of St. Mary’s and Jaffrey streets.  The two sites could potentially support seven micro-units in total.

The decision to make the land available supports the Housing First strategy as outlined in the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness 2017 Report called “Paving the Road Home”. The request was formally made by the United Way of Central New Brunswick on behalf of the Fredericton Housing First Fund (FHFF), which is administered by the Fredericton Community Foundation.

“I am extremely proud that the City of Fredericton has found a way to help support housing for the homeless in our community.  This is a first for Fredericton and another way the City has been able to help address the problem,” said Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien.  “I have been involved with matters related to homelessness and affordable housing for over a decade. It is a complex file involving many factors that are not always obvious to the public.”

“We are pleased to see the Housing First strategy fall into place; something so many members of the community and private sector have worked on over the past year,” said Jeff Richardson, Executive Director of the United Way of Central New Brunswick.  “Provision of land is one of the most important elements of our plan, and we are delighted that the City continues to support solutions that provide options for the homeless in our city.”

For construction to proceed on either surplus property, it will need to go through the City’s land use / zoning process. In addition, the City will require that the entity building the units conduct a public engagement process to explain the project to neighbours. Provided that the required zoning process and neighbourhood engagement process is successful, the City will convey the land to the selected entity, with the understanding that the land can only be used for the purpose of addressing the issue of chronic homelessness in Fredericton.

In addition to the surplus land, the City has already implemented many of the other recommendations of the Mayor’s Task Force, including a series of amendments to the City’s Zoning By-law to provide additional flexibility to create new housing units. The City has also approved funding of $35,962 a year for three years commencing in 2018 to financially assist with the creation of 40 new Housing First units in greater Fredericton.

The Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness was commissioned in November 2016 as a way to meet the goals set out in the “The Road Home” report. This was a community-based plan to end sustained homelessness in Fredericton, developed by the Community Action Group on Homelessness in 2015. The “Paving the Road Home” report followed in 2017 as a way to advance the goal outline in the original report. The Housing First strategy followed from there. 

To find out more about the Affordable Housing Committee, Mayor’s Task Force and the various reports on the subject, visit www.fredericton.ca and search Affordable Housing Committee