Let's Talk Affordable Housing!

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picture of a senior couple enjoying their new affordable home Southwestern Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission is looking at the current state of affordable housing in Nova Scotia and has been mandated to identify sustainable, and actionable long-term solutions to increase the supply of, and access to affordable housing. To help inform its recommendations, the commission wants to hear from you.

Please use the various tools available on this site to share your ideas or send us a written submission at affordablehousingcommission@novascotia.ca.

The Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission is looking at the current state of affordable housing in Nova Scotia and has been mandated to identify sustainable, and actionable long-term solutions to increase the supply of, and access to affordable housing. To help inform its recommendations, the commission wants to hear from you.

Please use the various tools available on this site to share your ideas or send us a written submission at affordablehousingcommission@novascotia.ca.

  • Deadline for Written Submissions Extended

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    14 Apr 2021

    Stakeholders now have more time to prepare their written submissions to the Commission. The deadline was originally set to April 15th, but to accommodate those who are still researching and working on their ideas, it has been extended to April 23th.

    Download the Written Submission Guidelines

  • Discussion Guide for the online workshops now available

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    28 Mar 2021

    If you are registered for the upcoming online workshops, please take a moment to consult the discussion guide below. It will provide you with useful information to help prepare you to engage in this very important discussion with other housing stakeholders.

    To find a copy of the agenda for your session, please click on the link below:

    You can learn more about the work of the Commission and consult with other publications, studies, and documents under the Resources section.

  • Key issues emerge from stakeholders' feedback

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    27 Mar 2021
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    The N.S. Affordable Housing Commission is making great strides through regular monthly meetings, and its sub-committees and work groups. After hearing from housing experts and examining the preliminary results of the feedback received through the online engagement hub, members have identified five key issues they will be exploring further through their work, to advance the Commission's mandate: New Affordable Housing Supply; Governance; Partnerships; Regional Variations, and Data.

    the Commission has identified three main guiding questions to help guide its work:

    1. What barriers need to be removed and what innovative approaches can we try to get more affordable housing to market, in all sectors?
    2. How can we ensure diversity in rental supply that serves a range of housing needs?
    3. How can all partners collaborate more effectively to create new rental supply and sustain existing affordable rental housing that is responsive to demand?

    Through the ongoing work, the Commission will develop recommendations to support the Province and its partners to work towards the ultimate outcome that sustainable, affordable, and inclusive rental housing exists for Nova Scotians in housing need. This vision is supported by three key pillars: Housing Supply; People & Communities; Partners & Governance (see image below).

    The Commission and its two sub-committees and two working groups are hearing from key experts, examining case studies of innovative models and approaches, and are conducting research to identify best practices across the country and internationally.

    Looking at available housing data for Nova Scotia, and information on populations in housing need, options are being developed to improve access to affordable housing, improve sustainability of existing affordable housing, accelerate new supply, and mechanisms to create ongoing structures for number, cross-sectoral approaches with innovative partnerships.

    These key questions will be further explored during the online stakeholder workshops beginning March 30, 2021. To participate in these sessions, visit https://www.eventbrite.ca/o/nova-scotia-affordable-housing-commission-32818479429

  • The Commission will be hosting online regional workshops starting March 30

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    17 Mar 2021
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    Help shape the future of affordable rental housing in Nova Scotia.

    Housing stakeholders are invited to share their ideas in an online regional workshop hosted by the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission.

    These sessions will be hosted from March 30 to April 9, 2021.

    Visit our registration page to join the workshop for your region, or if that timing doesn't work, join a different one.

    The Commission was created to engage with experts and stakeholders to learn more about the current state of affordable housing and develop recommendations to increase the supply of, and access to, affordable housing across the province.

    Input from these workshops, focus groups, an online survey, and other submitted ideas will be used to help develop the Commission’s recommendations. Their work will be presented to the Minister of Infrastructure and Housing by May 31.

    You are also encouraged to fill out our survey, share your ideas, map your community's housing needs and share your housing story.

    In addition, the Commission will host focus groups to hear from specific groups and sectors.

  • Webinars with Carolyn Whitzman and Steve Pomeroy

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    12 Mar 2021
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    Canadian housing experts Carolyn Whitzman and Steve Pomeroy will provide insights into the latest research on affordable housing as part of the Affordable Housing Commission Speaker Series, in two upcoming webinars.

    Friday, March 19, at 12 p.m. (ADT)

    Dr. Whitzman will speak about her research on global housing policies, with a particular focus on collaborative partnerships for affordable housing. Adjunct Professor at University of Ottawa, Dr. Whitzman is the author, co-author or editor of five books related to ‘the right to the city’ in both a contemporary and historical perspective. She frequently provides policy advice to local, state and national government and to the UN, including addressing the plenary at the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador in September 2016.

    Watch Recording:

    BONUS** Q&A Session with Carolyn Whitzman


    Tuesday, March 23, at 4:00 p.m. (ADT)

    Steve Pomeroy will speak about his most recent research on housing policies, with a particular focus on the importance of a balanced housing system and respective roles of the private and community sectors and community housing sector modernization and restructuring. These topics are extremely relevant to the work of the Affordable Housing Commission. Steve is a Senior Research Fellow for the Centre for Urban Research and Education (CURE) at Carleton University. In 2013, he was awarded Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition for his contributions to housing policy and research.

    Watch Recording

  • More Ways for Nova Scotians to Work with the Affordable Housing Commission

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    08 Mar 2021
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    Nova Scotians now have more ways to help shape the future of affordable housing in the province. The Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission has launched an online survey and will host a series of virtual public workshops with housing stakeholders in March and April.

    "Our province is growing and the need for a diverse supply of housing options has been clearly identified as a priority", said Infrastructure and Housing Minister Geoff MacLellan. "Now is the time to look at bold ideas to keep Nova Scotia one of the most affordable places to live and ensure that safe rental housing is available to anyone regardless of their income."

    Individuals and organizations are invited to share their knowledge and experiences by writing or emailing the commission. The survey is available at www.nsaffordablehousingcommission.ca and details of the workshops will be available on the website soon.

    The commission was created to engage with experts and stakeholders across the province to learn more about the current state of affordable housing and find sustainable, long-term solutions that build on the commitments made by the province under the National Housing Strategy.

    The feedback will be used to help develop recommendations that will be presented to government by May 31.


    "The response we've received to the commission's work so far has been outstanding, and everyone involved is grateful for the time spent and effort made by people to submit their ideas and stories. We believe Nova Scotians still have more to offer and that's why we are leaving no stone unturned to try to get as much feedback as possible."

    - Ren Thomas, co-chair, Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission

    Quick Facts:

    -- rents cannot increase by more than two percent per year and landlords will not be able to get an eviction order for renovations until Feb. 1, 2022, or until the state of emergency is lifted, whichever is sooner

    -- government is investing $513 million over 10 years in affordable housing projects and programs under the National Housing Strategy

    -- over the past six months, more than 900 low-income homeowners have received a home repair or adaptation

    -- more than 2,700 households currently receive a rent supplement

    -- the recently announced Targeted Housing Benefit will help up to 1,700 households across the province

    Additional Resources:

    The commission can be reached at 1-833-743-0777 or by emailing affordablehousingcommission@novascotia.ca

    Nova Scotia Housing Action Plan: https://housing.novascotia.ca/sites/default/files/NS_Housing_Action_Plan_2019.pdf

    Municipal Affairs and Housing Twitter Account: https://twitter.com/dma_ns

  • How can you get involved?

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    16 Jan 2021
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    The Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission is committed to an open and transparent stakeholder engagement process that will foster a deeper understanding of the complexity of affordable housing challenges experienced by Nova Scotians; and uncover opportunities to improve the supply of, and access to affordable housing.

    We are providing several ways for stakeholders and citizens to share their views on housing issues and potential solutions for Nova Scotia.

    Through this online engagement hub, you can:

    • Share Your Ideas on a number of important areas to consider.
    • Map It! to show us where and what kind of need exists in your community;
    • Share Your Story on what type of housing is needed in your neighbourhood.

    Subscribe now to stay up to date on the work of the commission. We will send you emails periodically to share with you the latest information and let you know what we're hearing from Nova Scotians.

    In addition to the engagement tools available on this engagement hub, you can share your opinion with the commission by:

    1. Phone: Call the NSAHC toll free message line at 1-833-743-0777 and leave us a brief message about a specific challenge that requires attention or a solution that should be considered by the commission.
    2. Email: Send us a detailed description of your ideas or thoughts about how we can increase the supply of, and access to affordable housing at affordablehousingcommission@novascotia.ca.
    3. Snail Mail: Send your written submission to Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission c/o Mr. Stephan Richard Maritime Centre, 14th Floor North - 1505 Barrington St, PO Box 216, Halifax, NS, B3J 2M4

    No matter how you decide to get involved, we appreciate your participation in this important process.

  • Get to know the commission members - click here

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    16 Jan 2021
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    The Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission has 18 members participating. These individuals were appointed to the Commission based on their knowledge, experience, and expertise in their respective sector. We have representatives from the private, not-for-profit, and municipal sectors. Members were also appointed based on regional considerations.

    Meet the 17-commission members:

    Eiryn Devereaux (co-chair)

    Coming soon

    photo of Dr. Ren ThomasDr. Ren Thomas (co-chair)

    Dr. Thomas is a researcher, writer, and instructor who is passionate about planning, with a focus on housing, transportation, growth management policies, and governance. She has worked on a number of nationally funded research projects and is a Founding Fellow of the MacEachen Institute of Public Policy and Governance at Dalhousie University. As an Assistant Professor at the School of Planning, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in planning and supervise Masters and Bachelors theses/projects. She has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, including the Ontario Growth Secretariat, University of Oregon, University of Amsterdam, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP), and she’s a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) and Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

    photo of Karen BrodeurKaren Brodeur

    Karen is the Regional Manager, Atlantic for the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. She has spent the last 25 years working from coast to coast in the co-operative housing sector. In 2013, she graduated with a Masters of Management Co-operatives and Credit Unions from Saint Mary’s University, completing her thesis on scale and housing co-operatives. After graduating, Karen spent three years on the board of directors of the Co-operative Management Education Co-operative, working to support the advancement of co-operative management education on partnership with Saint Mary’s University. Karen is passionate about the sustainability and expansion of mixed income, inclusive co-operative communities.

    photo of Chris CollettChris Collett

    Chris has worked in the public service for over 30 years in mental health and Justice sectors and is currently responsible for Nova Scotia’s Correctional Services Division. Working with communities to create new and innovative solutions to address the social determinants of crime are a key focus in Nova Scotia. Creating supportive housing options to reduce institutionalization and providing opportunities for vulnerable citizens to succeed through educational and vocational attainment are key focusses in Nova Scotia. “I am honoured to have been asked to work as a member of the Housing Commission which will allow me to continue this important work on behalf of Nova Scotians.”

    photo of Kelly DentyKelly Denty

    Kelly Denty is Executive Director of Planning and Development with the Halifax Regional Municipality. As department head, she leads a team of professionals who ensure HRM’s planning programs, policies and services create complete and sustainable communities. With over 32 years of experience in the administration of municipal planning and land development programs, Kelly is accomplished in all aspects of planning and land use regulation and is recognized as a subject matter expert in this area.

    Fred Deveaux

    Fred Deveaux is the Executive Director of the Cape Breton Community Housing Association and Community Homeless Shelter. He is a member of the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, a member of the Affordable Housing and Homelessness Working Group, and has over 20 years’ experience in the Social Enterprise, housing, and Mental Health sectors.

    Marie Walsh

    Marie is a Certified Public Accountant and began her career in Municipal Government in 2007 as Director of Finance before she moved into the position of CAO. Prior to this Marie worked in Public Housing with Cape Breton Island Housing for 19 years. During this time she was selected for a 3 month secondment for a Strategic Planning committee for Provincial Housing Authorities. She has been a member of many boards throughout her career including CPA, AMA, PVSC, Destination Cape Breton, Home Care etc along with many Provincial committees.

    Frazer Egerton

    Frazer works as a Special Advisor at the Department of Health and Wellness. His recent positions have been at the Executive Council Office and Community Services. He has a PhD from the University of Wales and is delighted to have called Nova Scotia home for the past 10 years.

    photo of Wadih FaresWadih Fares

    Wadih Fares, President and CEO of WM Fares Group, leads a team of professional engineers, architects, planners, and project managers. He has completed major multi-unit residential, commercial and hospitality projects throughout the Maritime Provinces, Ontario, and Alberta. Fares, also known as the Honorary Consul of Lebanon for the Maritime Provinces for the past 25 years, has shown exceptional dedication to community service and has been recognized by various sectors of society, receiving numerous prestigious awards and honours. In 2008 Fares was Inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame and in 2012, Wadih was invested into The Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours.

    photo of Jim GrahamJim Graham

    Jim has over 45 years' experience in the social housing field shared among the Province of Nova Scotia, the South Africa Department of Housing and various local non-profit organizations. He has served as a trustee on the Cooperative Housing Stabilization Fund and been recognized nationally by both CMHC and the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada. Since 2012 as Executive Director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia he has led AHANS in its role as the Community Entity responsible for delivering Employment and Social Development Canada's homelessness investment programs in Halifax and rural Nova Scotia.

    photo of Alex HalefAlex Halef

    Alex Halef, an Industrial Engineer (graduate of Daltech, Dalhousie formerly TUNS) is President and CEO of BANC Group. Alex and his teams’ primary business is the acquisition, design, construction and management of purpose built mixed use high-rise concrete multi-family apartment and commercial developments. Predominantly an urban developer, but with land interests in the suburbs, Alex and the BANC team are constantly focused on striving to maintain the precedent of producing buildings of the highest standard possible but as cost effective as possible to achievable a livable project for the broadest demographic. Alex has also sat on the board of various community organizations, such as the St. Antonios Parish Council and he and his wife are active members of the community, along with their four lovely young children.

    photo of Jeremy JacksonJeremy Jackson

    Jeremy Jackson joined Killam Properties in November 2005 as Vice President, Marketing. Jeremy has over 30 years of sales and market management experience. Prior to joining Killam, Jeremy had spent 10 years with Aliant Telecom in various managerial positions. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University and an MBA from St. Mary's University. Jeremy is the current President of the Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia (IPOANS), sits on the board of directors for Shelter Nova Scotia, as well as various regional and national homelessness and affordable housing committees. Jeremy is also the Past President of Basketball Nova Scotia, Past Club President and a current coach for the West End Steelers Youth Basketball Club in Halifax.

    Joy Knight

    Joy is the executive director of the Employment Services and Income Assistance program at the Nova Scotia department of Community Services.

    photo of Gordon LaingGordon Laing

    Gordon Laing is President & CEO of Southwest Properties Limited, a leading family-owned and operated developer of residential and commercial property in Atlantic Canada. Southwest owns and operates 1,783 quality apartments and condominiums in metro Halifax and is a majority shareholder of Premiere Suites, the leading Canadian provider of extended stay accommodations. Southwest is active in several hotel properties in Atlantic Canada and commercial properties in Newfoundland.

    photo of Michelle MacFarlaneMichelle MacFarlane

    Michelle MacFarlane is the Executive Director of Business and Consumer Services (BCS) within Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services. BCS, through regulatory practices and other programs, strives to balance economic growth with the protection of public interest. Michelle is an advocate of human-centred approaches for improved government programs and policies and uses her senior level knowledge in strategic planning and leading transformational change to modernize programs and services.

    Veronica Marsman

    In January 2017, Veronica Marsman retired as the Executive Director of the Akoma Family Centre, a children’s residential facility after 7 years, to assume the position of Property Manager with Akoma Holdings. As Property Manager, Veronica has responsibility to manage and develop 315 acres of property. The main responsibility of Veronica’s job is to fulfil the mission of Akoma Holdings which is to ‘create economic and social opportunities for the African Nova Scotian community and general society’. This goal includes the restoration of the Old Home orphanage building as a community hub, the development of affordable homes, a seniors complex, long term care facility and more.

    Prior to working at Akoma, Veronica was on secondment to Public Works and Government of Canada in the Office of Small & Medium Enterprises and with the provincial Office of Emergency Management as the Business Continuity Manager. She was employed with the provincial Department of Community Services for over 27 years in a number of positions from a front-line child protection, post-adoption social worker, children in care coordinator, to a Manager of 3 District Offices in HRM.

    Veronica is the Co-Chair of the Health Association of African Canadians, Past-President of the Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers and Finance Chair for the African United Baptist Association.

    Chief Sid Peters (Dalhousie University)Photo: Dalhousie

    Chief Sid Peters

    Chief Sidney Peters is a Mi’kmaq from the Glooscap First Nation, NS. He is the son of former Chief Joseph Peters and was elected to the position in 2012. In his previous work life he has worked with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) as the Manager of their Lands, Environment, and Natural Resources Department (LENR).

    He was responsible for the operation of the LENR department, which included: lands, and research on any land issues relating to First Nation communities.

    Prior to his work with CMM Sidney has 23 years of work experience with not-for profit groups, band councils, tribal councils, and municipalities, and federal and provincial governments.

  • Province launches new Affordable Housing Commission

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    16 Jan 2021

    Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Chuck Porter, announced on Nov. 25, the creation of the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission. The commission will work with experts in the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors to make recommendations about affordable housing strategies and actions.

    “It is clear that our housing market is going through an unprecedented situation, made worse by COVID-19, and people need us to take immediate action as we look for sustainable solutions,” said Mr. Porter. “We will be working with our partners to identify opportunities and make evidence-based decisions that put us on the right path forward for Nova Scotians.”

    The 17 members of the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission include:

    • Catherine Berliner, Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing – co-chair
    • Ren Thomas, Dalhousie University – co-chair
    • Chief Sidney Peters, Tawaak Housing Association
    • Karen Brodeur, Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada
    • Fred Deveaux, Cape Breton Community Housing Association
    • Jim Graham, Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia
    • Veronica Marsman, Akoma Holdings
    • Marie Walsh, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
    • Jeremy Jackson, Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia
    • Alex Halef, Urban Development Institute
    • Wadih Fares, WM Fares Group
    • Gordon Laing, Southwest Properties
    • Kelly Denty, Halifax Regional Municipality
    • Michelle MacFarlane, Service Nova Scotia and Internal Services
    • Joy Knight, Department of Community Services
    • Frazer Egerton, Department of Health and Wellness
    • Chris Collett, Department of Justice

    The commission’s first set of recommendations will be submitted within the next six months.