During a special session on December 17, members of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell council (UCPR) reviewed a letter from Gary J. Barton, chairman of the Vankleek Seniors Citizens Manor board. The non-profit agency asked for help from the UCPR with applications for funding from the federal/provincial Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) for two senior housing projects.
“I am making a request to council on behalf of our board and that of La Résidence Lajoie in St-Albert,” stated Barton in his letter.
Both groups are applying for RHI funding for their seniors housing expansion projects. Application approval could mean full funding for all the costs of their projects. But the deadline for RHI applications was December 21 when the funding program was announced in November.
“We believe we are eligible to apply and support from our community is very important,” stated Barton, adding that confirmed community support for projects increases their chances of funding approval.
Barton suggested two options for the UCPR to provide a show of community support for the projects to the RHI review board.
One option was to allocate $20,000 in the UCPR budget for a 10-year period starting in 2022, so that each senior housing project could claim an annual $10,000 in guaranteed community support funds. The other option was for the UCPR to cancel its portion of the property taxes for the manor society starting in 2022.
“By making this commitment, we would be able to show support from the community in our (RHI) application,” stated Barton.
After a brief discussion the eight mayors on UCPR council approved a resolution to have the social services department provide a letter confirming community support for the manor board’s RHI application before the December 21 application deadline.
The resolution also guarantees “that the requested amount be granted in full through the available funding”.
“We’re going to make it happen,” said Stéphane Parisien, UCPR chief administrator. “We’re giving them what they’re asking.”