Phasing out housing subsidies could create more homeless: housing advocates
Published Friday, November 22, 2013 6:08PM CST
Last Updated Friday, November 22, 2013 6:38PM CST
Critics say the federal government is phasing out money to provide subsidized housing, and the lack of money for some, could mean the difference between having a place to live, or not.
Liz Campbell has lived in co-op housing for 34 years. Her rent is $490 a month, but says she has no idea how high it could go when she loses her subsidy this spring.
"I don't know where I would be able to go, that would be affordable for what I have, you know the money I have coming it. It's scary, very scary."
She said all her friends live here and has no family left, so she can’t imagine having to leave.
In Manitoba, about 40,000 people rely on a housing subsidy. Housing advocates are hoping the federal government comes up with a solution so rents don't go up.
Tammy Robinson is a program manager with the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada. She says it’s better for the feds to keep subsidies rather than deal with an increase of people looking for affordable housing.
"So where are they going to go? And this is huge. And we're worried about homelessness," said Robinson.
She says the biggest influx of people losing subsidies will happen in the next five years. She said it applies to people who live in co-op, non-profit and social housing.
A spokesperson for the Minister of State for Social Development said the government is not cutting back on a commitments. Andrew McGrath said the Economic Action Plan 2013 committed $1.25 billion towards the renewal of the Investment in Affordable Housing.
“Our government is committed to helping vulnerable Canadians become self-sufficient and fully participate in economy,” said McGrath.
“Just yesterday, Minister Bergen announced a common sense approach that will give some social housing projects greater flexibility when their CMHC operating agreements reach their maturation in order to continue to lower the cost of housing, ” McGrath added.
Housing advocates want the federal housing subsidy to continue so rent stays affordable.