The Department of Health and the Department of Community Services are teaming up to help low-income seniors stay in their homes longer, thanks to an additional $1 million in funding for home repairs announced today, Nov. 10. The Department of Health’s Continuing Care Strategy provided funding to the Department of Community Services for the Senior Citizens Assistance program. A total of $3.65 million is available for home repairs through the program. “The Continuing Care Strategy announced this spring aims to keep Nova Scotian seniors in their homes longer,” said Chris d’Entremont, Minister of Health. “Funding from the strategy will be invested in home repairs through Community Services’ Senior Citizens Assistance Program, so we can ensure that those homes meet current health and safety standards.” The Senior Citizens Assistance Program provides funding for lower-income applicants over the age of 65 who want to remain in their own homes, but are not able to afford necessary repairs. Grants of up to $5,000 are available for repairs which ensure that health and safety standards are met. For example, this may include repairs to roofing, plumbing and heating. “We are pleased to work with our colleagues at the Department of Health to deliver on a shared goal — to ensure seniors are living in homes that are safe and secure,” said Judy Streatch, Minister of Community Services. “Nova Scotia has some of the highest rates of home ownership, and some of the oldest homes in the country. Investing more in housing repairs will help Nova Scotian seniors make the repairs necessary to remain in their homes longer.” To qualify for housing repair grants, total household income must be below set income thresholds. Eligible household income levels are determined by household size and the cost of shelter in the community. The Department of Community Services has 13 home repair programs that help low-income Nova Scotians make repairs that address health and safety issues, including two programs targeted for senior citizens. In 2005-06 a total of $13.7 million was provided through 13 home repair programs to help about 2,500 households. Information on home repair programs is available at local housing services offices or on the Department of Community Services website at www.gov.ns.ca/coms .
1 May 2010The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) begins a four-country visit to Africa today to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight anti-poverty targets agreed upon by world leaders with a 2015 deadline. The head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) begins a four-country visit to Africa today to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight anti-poverty targets agreed upon by world leaders with a 2015 deadline. “Achieving the MDGs,” said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, “means quite simply a better life for billions of people.” The trip will take her to Mali, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and South Africa, where she hopes to spread the message that it is possible to meet the Goals through proven policies backed by strong partnerships. Miss Clark’s visit to sub-Saharan Africa comes some 150 days before world leaders converge in New York, just prior to the start of the General Assembly’s annual General Debate, to identify obstacles to achieving the MDGs. In Mali, she will tour the historic city of Timbuktu and meet with female mango farmers, while in Burkina Faso, she will stop at a facility which boosts rural women’s access to energy and a centre focusing on reintegrating sex workers. While in Tanzania, she will visit a protected forest and speak with newly-registered voters, and in South Africa, she will take part in a pre-World Cup soccer match in Pretoria. Sub-Saharan Africa, still the region with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty, has seen its poverty rates plummet since 1990, falling to below 50 per cent in 2008. But UNDP warned that the global recession has slowed that progress in the past year. The region has also reduced the number of adults and children newly infected with HIV/AIDS by almost 20 per cent between 2001 and 2008, with access to antiretroviral treatments also expanding in many countries. Gender parity in primary education will be achieved by most African nations by 2015, while the number of seats held by women in parliaments has risen in dozens of countries. Despite of these successes and others, sub-Saharan Africa still faces major challenges, including fighting hunger and deforestation, as well as curbing maternal mortality. “MDG progress suffers when the needs of women and girls are given low priority,” the UNDP Administrator said. The fifth MDG calls for improving maternal health and slashing maternal mortality ratio by three quarters from 1990. “Yet this is the MDG on which there has been the least progress so far,” Miss Clark pointed out, noting that a woman dies every minute in the world from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.