August 2nd, 2019

Liberal government funding renovictions

Halifax -- According to information obtained through a freedom of information request, units funded through the Liberal government's affordable housing grants are being offered at just $25 below market rents.

"What we see here is the McNeil Liberals giving money to for-profit companies and delivering little in return to people in our province," said Lisa Roberts, NDP Municipal Affairs and Housing spokesperson. "We need government support to make sure people have a place to live. More and more people are struggling to find a home they can afford in their community."

Last year Vida Living received over three million dollars from the province to upgrade and maintain 71 affordable units in Halifax and Dartmouth. Rent for the units at Vida's properties is set at $675 for a bachelor, and are only $25 to $50 less than the company says the market rent will be for a unit of the same size.

"I have known people who lived in some of those buildings for years, and who were evicted for the purpose of renovations," said Eric Jonsson, social worker and coordinator of the Navigator Street Outreach Program. "Now, nobody on income assistance can afford to move back in because the rent is far higher than the $535 income assistance allows. What we need are non-market options, and affordable options where people are not put at risk of being priced out."

Nova Scotia is one of only two provinces that haven't signed a bilateral agreement with the federal government on housing.