The first in what many hope will be more announcements on affordable housing in Estevan was made Friday.
A brief ceremony was held to announce the opening of six affordable housing units in a 12-unit complex that is located on the 1600 block of First Street.
According to a government press release, the housing project by the SV Rental Corporation received $1 million in funding through the federal/provincial affordable housing agreement. Of the six units, four are two-bedroom units and two of them are three bedroom units.
Representatives from both the federal and provincial governments as well as the City of Estevan were on hand for Friday's announcement and praised the co-operation that allowed the project to happen.
Souris-Moose Mountain MP Ed Komarnicki represented Diane Finley, the minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and said he was excited to see some federal money come to his home constituency.
"The shortage of housing and the whole idea of having adequate housing comes up time and time again," said Komarnicki. "If we want to attract either high-skilled or lower-skilled people to our community, whether it's in the service industry or the hospitality industry, you got to have a place to live. So every time we have a developer or partners construct additional housing, that is certainly a good thing."
Estevan MLA Doreen Eagles appeared on behalf of June Draude, the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation at Friday's event and said the government remains committed to helping with the affordable housing issue in the Energy City.
"We will continue to make every effort to address current and future housing challenges," Eagles said "and to maintain the Saskatchewan advantage for all. I look forward to seeing the homes when they are completed."
Along with the money from the two upper levels of government, the City of Estevan also contributed by offering tax breaks through the CANDO program.
City manager Jim Puffalt, who represented the City of Estevan, said they are thankful both governments have recognized the need for housing in Estevan and "developing a program that basically was designed for Estevan and takes into account the drastic and dire need we have for rental accommodations, particularly affordable rental accommodations," Puffalt said.
"We have been in discussions with our elected representatives and Sask. Housing about what we can do together to make something happen."
John Aston, the president of the SV Rental Corporation, said the ability to offer the six units to the public at an affordable rate was a direct result of the company's partnership with the provincial and federal governments.
He added that the six units will be rented out at a rent that is lower than the going rate in the local market.
"So lower than what these units would be rented for if the government wasn't involved," he said. "The way they define that is there are statistics published by the CMHC on what the rents are in each city of 10,000 and over and so they base what we can rent (the units) at based on an average of those CMHC numbers."
Anyone interested in learning more about the units may contact Aston at 1-306-527-6271. Aston expects two units will be ready in November with two more ready in December and the final two in January.