Soo program to teach construction skills and renovate homes in poor repair

soo announcement

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is investing $900,000 in a project in Sault Ste. Marie to help people move out of community housing.

District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board will use the funding to purchase up to six homes that are currently in a state of disrepair and to expand a training program at Sault College that teaches Ontario Works clients building and maintenance skills, the Sault Star reports. Students will work with licensed contractors to renovate the homes, which the board will then sell to residents of community housing and low-income community members, helping them become homeowners and freeing up community housing units for other low-income residents.

“This is an innovative and sustainable project, that builds skills and homes for people who need them,” Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing said in a statement. “We need more creative ideas like this to help people find good jobs and achieve the dream of home ownership.”

The Sault College program helps Ontario Works clients learn in-demand skills, make contacts and build confidence to enter the workforce.

“Helping provide hands-on training that can lead to a job and a way out of poverty is a priority for our government,” Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Todd Smith said in a press release. “This exciting project not only benefits Sault Ste. Marie but provides an example of how communities can work with the province to help those in need of a hand up.”

The program, will target neighbourhoods with an average assessment value under $100,000.

“I’m proud of the ingenuity of Sault Ste. Marie social services for putting together this unique plan that will make a real difference in the lives of so many people,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “I look forward to seeing people move into these homes.”

The District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board will give qualifying families or individuals a forgivable loan to help with the down payment and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation insurance. The homes will be sold on a cost-recovery basis, keeping prices affordable, and the proceeds will be used to buy more homes to renovate and re-sell.

About 90 people are expected to receive training in renovations and construction.


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