Safe and healthy residents lead to stronger, more resilient communities. A priority for Niagara Region this term is providing services that help people meet their basic needs so they can live with dignity, engage actively and contribute to society.
We continue to tackle housing affordability and chronic homelessness by adapting to the current challenges that are before us. In addition to making affordability a core element of our new Official Plan, we're working with the non-profit and private sectors to support every opportunity to bring more rental units to the market. Niagara Region is also making historic direct investments of $19.4 million in affordable and supportive housing projects across our community to help those most in need. When combined with contributions from the provincial and federal governments, over $43 million has been invested into affordable housing since 2019.
Niagara continues to be a place that treats our aging population with dignity and respect. The $175 million redevelopment of Linhaven and Gilmore Lodge long-term care facilities ensures our seniors continue to receive a high standard of care into the future.
Ensuring Niagara's residents can access quality health care is one of our top priorities. That is why Niagara Region has committed $55 million toward the provincial redevelopment of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital and the new South Niagara Hospital.
The COVID-19 pandemic required Public Health to shift priorities to manage the crisis. However, it didn't mean that other core programs could be forgotten. For example, over the last three years, Public Health completed over 26,000 health hazard investigations and helped over 600 residents begin the process to quit smoking. They also conducted over 6,000 home visits to support Niagara's most vulnerable young families, giving their new child the best start to life.