Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

November 03, 2009 23:59 ET

Changing lives - Creating partnerships

ST. JOHN'S, Nov. 3 - The lives of 18 individuals changed for the better today with the official opening of the Stella Burry Community Services' new and much-anticipated housing project in Rawlins Cross.

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), made the announcement today.

"The Government of Canada is proud to invest in initiatives that directly help people in our community access safe and suitable housing," said Minister MacKay. "This project will provide safe and supportive housing and help individuals build a stronger future for themselves."

The project has received federal funding from various initiatives to off-set construction costs. Funding by the Government of Canada, through CMHC, includes $905,000 under the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Affordable Housing Initiative and $216,000 through the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program. Stella Burry Community Services also received $348,900 from the Government of Canada homelessness funding and $20,000 in Seed Funding from CMHC during the initial planning stages.

Also, the General Council of The United Church of Canada contributed $250,000 toward the completion of the project. Incorporated under The United Church of Canada, Stella Burry Community Services provides programs in the community that reflect the social justice philosophies of the United Church.

"This is such an exciting day for us," said Jocelyn Greene, Executive Director of Stella Burry Community Services. "From the beginning, the community, the city, our staff, our board members, as well as our federal and provincial partners have all been tremendously supportive of the entire project. I know it is because people relate to the work that we, as an organization, do in this community. We all firmly believe that everyone deserves an affordable and safe place to call home; that everyone deserves opportunity and supports to be the best person that they can be. A project such as this would not be possible without that strong, unified support, for which we are incredibly grateful and blessed."

"We are extremely proud of the work that is being carried out by Stella Burry Community Services, and are delighted to contribute to this wonderful project in St. John's," said Mardi Tindal, Moderator of The United Church of Canada. "The availability of affordable housing has been a persistent concern of The United Church of Canada and our record of advocacy on issues relating to housing and homelessness is well known. The leadership shown by Stella Burry Community Services to increase the availability of housing for low income individuals in the St. John's region is to be commended as we celebrate the opening of this beautiful building today," she added.

Last fall, the Government of Canada committed more than $1.9 billion over the next five years to improve and build new affordable housing and to help the homeless. Canada's Economic Action Plan builds on this with an additional one-time investment of more than $2 billion over two years in new and existing social housing and lending of up to another $2 billion to municipalities for housing-related infrastructure.

Information on Canada's Economic Action Plan, the federal government's plan to stimulate the economy and protect those hit hardest by the global recession, can be found at:

To find out more about how the Government of Canada and CMHC are working to build stronger homes and communities for all Canadians, call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642 or visit

Backgrounder attached.

                       Stella Burry Community Services

Located in Rawlins Cross at 84 Prescott Street, on the former site of the historic O'Mara-Martin Building, the three-story structure contains 18 suites of affordable housing and a resource centre that will offer a range of programs and services to help individuals struggling with chronic unemployment and affordable housing needs.

Stella Burry Community Services acquired the former O'Mara-Martin Building in late 2005, with the objective of creating a second mixed-use building that would provide office space as well as affordable housing. At the time, Stella Burry had just completed a similar mixed-use building on the site of the former Murphy Grocery across the street at Rawlins Cross intersection.

Like the Murphy Grocery site, the new building has also been restored similar to the appearance of the original O'Mara-Martin Building of the early 1900s, which was a clapboard structure with a mansard-style roof.

The new building will provide 18 single, self-contained apartments on the two upper floors, along with a common space for tenant social events. The United Church Women's Groups from around the province have also provided homemade quilts, small appliances and sets of cooking utensils to complete each of the 18 suites.

The main floor will accommodate Stella Burry Community Services administrative staff and employment programs, including HOPEworks, which for eight years has been successfully assisting adults with little or no work experience to secure employment.

Contact Information

  • For further information: Media contacts: Michelle Bakos, Press Secretary, Office of Minister Finley, (819) 994-2482,; Deborah Glassman, Director of Fund Development and Communications, Stella Burry Community Services, (709) 738-8391; Dawn Ring, Communications and Marketing Consultant, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, (709) 772-5973, (709) 687 2194,