An investment of $102.2 million by the provincial government will see 380 new low-income housing units built and renovations made to 110 vacant units.
Social Development Minister Dorothy Shephard announced Monday that Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton will each receive 40 new homes, while 68 units will be built in northern regions.
The province says 192 units are reserved for areas of greatest need.
“Significant cost-of-living increases, combined with a housing market boom, has contributed to an unprecedented demand for public housing units,” said Shephard.
“This important initiative will result in the building of the first government-owned housing units in 38 years.”
In a news release, the Department of Social Development said it owns and operates 808 public housing units across New Brunswick, with most of them being built in the 1970s.
The province says many vacant units need extensive repairs, including to the windows, doors, flooring, bathrooms, kitchen cupboards, countertops, appliances or drywall.
Some also require upgrades to electrical or plumbing systems.
Shephard said the province spends about $15 million per year on maintaining and improving these existing homes through the ordinary budget.
“There has not been a major capital renovation and replacement plan for public housing in decades, which has contributed to the current poor state of the infrastructure,” said Shephard.
“We now plan to invest an additional $2.2 million this year to ensure that 110 of the vacant units can be occupied as quickly as possible.”
Shephard said her government’s budget has allocated $120 million for the housing portfolio this year, an increase of more than 22 per cent.
Government says more than 14,500 New Brunswickers benefit from public housing, affordable housing units, rent subsidies and other housing programs.