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Trudeau announces $175 million for Edmonton to help build affordable housing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled a significant investment of $175 million to expedite the construction of more than 5,200 new housing units in Edmonton over the next three years. Standing at a construction site in southwest Edmonton, Trudeau expressed his commitment to transforming the way housing is built in the country.

The funds are earmarked to pass through the federal Housing Accelerator program, specifically designed to remove barriers hindering the swift construction of homes. Trudeau emphasized that this financial injection aims to diversify housing options in the city, addressing the shortage of rentals, affordable apartments, and residences near educational institutions like universities and colleges.

During a visit to a project in the city's southwest, Trudeau toured a development that is set to provide 334 housing units by summer, with a noteworthy 60% classified as affordable. Engaging with tradespeople on-site, he acknowledged the positive changes occurring in the industry. James Cameron, a plumber at the project, remarked on the increased activity, highlighting the significance of these changes.

Trudeau, donning a hard hat, conversed with David Mitton, president of builder Leston Holdings, who explained innovative Edmonton-created wood framing technology expediting construction. The integration of cellphone apps and other technological tools has improved communication and efficiency for the workers.

The announcement was made alongside Edmonton Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister Randy Boissonnault and Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. Last month, the city declared a homelessness and housing emergency, reflecting a commitment to providing decent homes for all residents. Mayor Sohi praised federal investments for contributing to the construction of more supportive housing in the city.

Trudeau underscored the importance of collaboration between different levels of government to address the housing issue. However, in contrast to a housing announcement in British Columbia, no representatives from the Alberta government were present. This absence drew a response from Alberta Seniors, Community, and Social Services Minister Jason Nixon, demanding per capita housing funding and urging Trudeau to cease criticisms of the oil and gas sector.

In response, Trudeau expressed his willingness to meet with provinces, emphasizing the success of the federal-provincial program announced in B.C. that matches financing to build affordable rental units. While he voiced openness to the idea of an "Alberta Builds" program, he highlighted the need for trilateral discussions on countering homelessness.

On a related note, six smaller Alberta communities signed deals with Ottawa on Tuesday, receiving nearly $14 million to facilitate the construction of 400 new homes over the next three years in Banff, Sylvan Lake, Bow Island, Westlock, Smoky Lake, and Duchess. These initiatives collectively represent a comprehensive effort to address housing challenges and enhance living conditions in various regions of Alberta.