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N.S. buys 25 modular homes for residents displaced by wildfires to rent

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Nova Scotia is purchasing 25 modular homes to be rented out to residents displaced by this season’s wildfires.

The province said it will spend $7.4 million on two and three bedroom, furnished modular houses that it will rent out for $1,000 to $2,000 per month.

"These modulars will provide a safe and comfortable space for people who need them as they work through the trauma of losing their home and the stress of possibly rebuilding or repairing,” Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr said Tuesday.

The wildfires in Nova Scotia that started in late May destroyed 150 houses in the Halifax-area and about 60 homes and cottages in Shelburne County.

Renée Hynes, who lost her Tantallon home to the blaze, said she’s excited by the news of the modular housing units — though she’s unsure if she’d like to move into one.

The modular home can be placed on residents’ property while they rebuild, and the province said it is working on identifying land where modular homes can be set up for those that do not have the appropriate space on their property.

Hynes, who is a mother of four, said she likes the idea of being able to return to her property with her children “so that the kids can have the same routine.”

“It’s fantastic news and something for us to consider,” she said in an interview Tuesday.

The temporary housing units will be supplied and installed by Kent Homes, and they will be rented on a month-to-month basis by the Nova Scotia Provincial Housing Agency.

Krista Higdon, a spokesperson with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in an email the units are constructed and will be made available to the province “immediately.”

However, the amount of time it will take to have the modular homes delivered and ready for move-in will “depend a lot on the sites impacted and the remediation work that is required,” Higdon said.

She said the province’s goal is to have the modular housing units ready for residents to move into by September. Once there, families will be able to stay for up to two years.

“In the meantime, we will continue to work toward identifying land that is close to the communities impacted where communities can be established as soon as possible,” Higdon added.

The temporary houses will be about 84 to 93 square metres — 900 to 1000 square feet — and will include furnishings, appliances and connection to septic, water and telecom services.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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