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'Our biggest challenge is labour': Reaction to Ottawa's ambitious plan to build millions of homes


'Now Renting' signs have popped up in Halifax -- and more could be on the way.

In the federal government's latest budget, there were a number of measures aimed at helping renters.

A photo of a now renting sign in Halifax. (Stephanie Tsicos/CTV Atlantic)

"ACORN are happy with what's been announced, and we think those steps can help low to moderate income people, but there's still a lot to do," said Nichola Taylor, a national board representative for ACORN.

The Liberals laid out a strategy Tuesday to add almost four million homes by 2031.

The Construction Association of Nova Scotia is happy to see such a focus on housing in the budget, but its president and CEO says keeping up with demand is almost impossible.

"Our biggest challenge is labour, of course, and having the people to build all the housing. It could be single family, it could be multi-residential. It's just a people game right now," said Duncan Williams.

The budget also included steps to make it easier to own or rent a home, including getting a credit score for paying rent, protecting renters' rights, and aligning immigration with housing capacity.

"We're doing a great job bringing new people into Canada. We need to do a much better job at brining people into Canada who have construction-related experience," said Williams.

The federal government plans to build 250,000 new homes on public lands, such as unused or underused office towers and parking lots. It's also looking at building on National Defence lands and Canada Post properties, as well as converting some federal offices into homes.

While Nova Scotia Housing Minister John Lohr was pleased overall with the budget, there is an area where he'd like to see some work.

"We've announced 247 new public housing units in Nova Scotia. There's a big demand for public housing units. This is not something that's in the budget. That would be an area of concern for us," said Lohr.

ACORN also pointed to some other areas of concern for renters.

"We would like to see, obviously, rent caps in place and a stronger stance on renovictions because we're seeing too many people displaced," said Taylor.

The Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia was not entirely pleased with the budget.

"Unfortunately, the federal government's housing plan and budget does not provide support for those who are providing the existing supply of affordable housing," said executive director Kevin Russell in a statement to CTV News.

Russell is calling on the government to meet with his members to develop 'workable solutions' for affordable housing. Top Stories

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