Feds cut funding for low-income housing

Jim Day
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Adocates warn rents could double for some low-income housing units in P.E.I.

Mary Morrison, president of the Island View Co-op, says an end to the federal mortgage subsidy program could see rent more than double for some low-income Islanders.

Mary Morrison has lived in relative comfort for many years thanks to a financial hand up.

Morrison, 73, has resided in a unit of the Island View Housing Co-op since the co-operative was established 26 years ago.

A single mother, she moved into a three-bedroom duplex with her children that were ages eight and 10 at the time.

For the past quarter century, she has only paid about one-third of the full rent. She can’t imagine what her living alternatives would have been like without a regular subsidy.

“It’s been a beautiful place to live (and) to bring up children,’’ says Morrison.

“I am so thankful having found this place for all these years.’’

Thirteen housing co-ops across P.E.I. receive federal mortgage subsidization through the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Monthly subsidies range anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 for the housing co-ops, which allows many to enjoy affordable rent.

Of the 207 units in the 13 housing co-ops in the province, 102 are low-income subsidized housing, notes Marla Affleck, property manager with Atlantic Peoples Housing.

The CMHC subsidy agreements will expire with the 13 different housing co-ops between 2018 and 2026.

While this may seem a fair way down the road, Affleck wants to make sure money is found to fill the gap well in advance.

“We thought we would get ahead of the game so we are not caught like a deer in the headlights,’’ says Affleck.

“It’s certainly not going to happen overnight.’’

Affleck is hopeful the province will help address the loss of subsidization from the federal mortgage subsidy program.

When that funding ends, she anticipates rents will at least double for many residents of the 13 housing co-ops who are currently receiving low-income subsidized housing.

The only option they would have is to apply for housing subsidized by the provincial government - housing that already has many waiting on the doorstep for a spot.

Morrision, who is president of the Island View Co-op that consists of 12 duplexes, would like to know where future subsidization might come from.

“Well, my biggest concern is I don’t know where you would go to get enough money to pay rent,’’ she says.

“I’d be more worried about the others (living within the Island View Co-op) than me. As a co-op, we don’t have the funds to provide a subsidy...it would have to come from the province.’’

In April, P.E.I. and Ottawa hammered out an agreement to provide more than $3.6 million to help Islanders in greatest need of finding affordable housing or fixing up their current homes.

The new agreement replaces the previously signed agreement in 2011 and adds an additional $650,000 in provincial funding.

Rent supplements are among initiatives eligible for funding.

Meanwhile, the Conservative government’s decision to end funding to low-income co-operative housing units is being attacked as a move that will hurt struggling Canadians.

Liberal Advocate for Co-operatives Mauril Bélanger is calling on Ottawa to reverse the decision.

“More than 50,000 Canadians rely on the federal government’s rent-geared-to-income subsidy in order to pay their co-operative its monthly rent,’’ Bélanger said in a statement.

“Without this support, housing co-operatives will be faced with two untenable choices: raise rents to market rates, which those living onfixed incomes — including many families, seniors and people with disabilities — simply cannot afford, or ask other tenants to pay higher rent.’’

Organizations: Island View Housing Co-op, CMHC

Geographic location: P.E.I., Ottawa, Island View

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Recent comments

  • kent
    September 11, 2014 - 13:31

    For all you Bashers who just want to hate on this poor woman, get over your Judgements and hatred, and learn some facts. These are low income units and she was given one to rent 26 years ago. Just because her children are grown, does not mean they can just EVICT her! Jesus, how cruel are you guys! First her Child could still be in college for all you know..but it doesn't matter! it's still considered her home to use until such time she breaks a contract that would see her Evicted. Getting old, or your children leaving, is not one of those rules, or it would be on every rental agreement for everyone. How would you feel if you were evicted from your apt just because you had no kids home anymore? Yet here are millions of dollars paid out every year for people on social assistance..and ya..alot don't have kids! I have 2 ppl who live on the street behind me..they are in low income units..AND they have been on Social Assistance for 15 years at least..AND they don't have any kids there anymore..one of them lost her kid 10 years ago for being a druggie. Should they be evicted? I don't no..but they probably shouldn't have been given a unit years ago. There is a BIG difference between these 2 women..who smoke, drink, do drugs and have been unfit parents... (but we still pay for them) then this Poor Woman, who has not only been a good mom, but has also raised foster children and probably still is. does she deserve to be evicted? HELL NO!!! but the Gov could take the money they are wasting on social assistance(some of it..not all) and build more units for ppl who need them. And then there was Plan B.. lol

  • HRobert
    August 12, 2013 - 20:07

    ....More room than you need ???No reason why an empty nester with subsidized housing cannot be expected to either pay more (if he/she has excess space) or be expected to share that space with someone else in need ...lots of islanders would love to find an affordable room with housekeeping privileges or is that asking too much?....

  • islander
    August 11, 2013 - 07:06

    So since I have rented the same apartment for 14 years that means my landlord cant evict me according to your way of thinking Parent. Ok so she lived there for 26 years. How long ago since her kids moved out. Also its ok for a single mother supporting 2 kids living in a 2 bedroom apartment to pay over 900 for rent but not this lady who lives in a 3 bedroom with no kids. Hmmmm yep makes sense.

  • Jude Robinson
    August 10, 2013 - 15:32

    Personally some of these Co-op Projects are not operated properly . I can see a lot of favoritism for certain people in there. I know of some in Paton Court are only paying $35.00 a monthly rent and taking in income of $3000.00 per month. Isn't very fair I think. Maybe if things were properly done then maybe there wouldn't be a mortgage. I think that the Harper Government should do an internal investigation to see what is really going on. Maybe it is time for a new President if a mortgage stills exists.

  • Piet Hein
    August 10, 2013 - 15:02

    David, just out of curiosity how do you propose that someone who has no money, or very little of it, put some aside and still provide for oneself and their family?

    • SLIPPY
      August 10, 2013 - 15:20

      A lot of people have little money, but work to make sure they have can take care of themselves, especially when they have no more dependants. Programs to help people get by for a short time are one of the great things about our country. 26 years is a long time to be trying to get on your feet, and I suspect her children have not needed school supplies for quite some time now. The money that has been used to keep her in this home could have been used to help another family with children.

  • intobed
    August 10, 2013 - 14:43

    The province with the highest average age? PEI. The province with the lowest average income? PEI. The province with the highest unemployment? Yup, it's PEI. So what province will be most hurt by the federal CMHC cutbacks? PEI. Proof yet again that Harper hates PEI, and is out to hurt us every way he can.

    • Garth Staples
      August 10, 2013 - 20:00

      State your name oh ridiculous one!

    • Jason B
      August 12, 2013 - 18:08

      So because of PEI's problems...yes their problems...Harper is the bad guy! Right...

  • Frustrated
    August 10, 2013 - 13:12

    I get so ticked when I see stories like this. My mother was a single mother with 5 kids , a VERY low income, and she was able to figure out how to pay rent and keep food on the table. We did not have the luxury of low income housing. We skimped and pinched pennies. I know of at least 1 person who is in low income housing, lives alone , her two kids have long since been moved out, an up until a few years ago was living in one of the three bedroom townhouses. Just recently moved into the two bedroom duplex. How is this fair? What really ticks me off is the fact that in almost every single driveway , is sitting a new car ( or not very old 1-2 yr old) so you are struggling to make ends meet but can afford a new car?

    August 10, 2013 - 12:21

    I just want to say, I'm always amazed at how people can make broad sweeping judgments about others who come forth to expose a major social concern. I know this woman personally and for those of you like BOO HOO who don't, I will provided some additional information. Ms. Morrison made her only income as a foster care parent. She took in some of the more challenging children in the system and at times--besides her own two children--provided a loving home for up to seven children. She volunteers in the community, continues to care and provide for some of those children who continue to consider her their "mother". She attended parent teacher interviews for each and every "foster" child over the years and went above and beyond for many in the community. Furthermore, any child reared and nurtured by this woman would not be acting "entitled". Please be careful to judge when you don't know the whole story.

    • JKOR Underscore
      August 12, 2013 - 12:44

      Here Here Mr/Ms. Islander! Indeed - people often do jump to conclusions, judging and condemning before knowing all the facts. Their time may be better spent to look at policy, not how they perceive individual's circumstances.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    August 10, 2013 - 10:34

    Hey BOOHOO, you are GUTLESS, attacking this woman. You know who she is but yet you don't tell us who you are. COWARD. I HAVE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF THE YOUNGER PEOPLE BASHING THE OLDER PEOPLE. All you people, posting under an assumed name or title, think you are anonymous, but you are not. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS CARRY NO WEIGHT and are usually just attacks from people who cannot control their emotions. I struggle with it myself. I see this as a management problem which leads back to government of course. The woman may not qualify anymore, BUT, that does not mean that we throw her out on the curb or treat her with disrespect in this forum. Yes, other deserving families are waiting for that unit but we must AS A COMPASSIONATE CARING SOCIETY help this woman find another roof over her head. I agree with "Program and staff need review".

  • Understanding
    August 10, 2013 - 10:13

    While there are plenty of folks benefitting from use of the system, those who know this woman know she is fair, honest, hardworking, caring, creative, and one who has given back to her community in many ways and if living in her home is something our hard earned tax dollars can help with, so be it. She IS deserving and you people painting every one with the same brush should be wary of offering your opinions and stereotypes... Unless you want your lives evaluated by strangers.

  • just saying
    August 10, 2013 - 10:05

    I think its time this lady goes to the next subsidy unit call a seniors unit. Why is this lady aged 73 in a 3 bedroom unit while there are dozens of needy young families struggling to get by living in 1- 2 bedroom hovels?

  • Program and staff need review
    August 10, 2013 - 08:54

    I heard about a woman who is in a 2-3 bedroom low income townhouse alone! Her kids left over a year and a half ago yet she remains. Staff and senior mgmt are aware of this yet do nothing saying "these people know the system and are always one step ahead of us" Not hard to stay ahead of a staff that seemingly do nothing but draw a pay cheque! There must be a waiting list of deserving families that badly need this unit. The minister needs to review policy and see that it's carried out by the highly paid staff. No wonder funding is being cut with incompetent, uncaring mgmt and staff allowing obvious abuse of the program while those in real need suffer on a waiting list. I'm sure there are a lot more examples of this abuse. Do your job!! Where is the leadership?

  • From Away
    August 10, 2013 - 08:32

    I agree with "Islander" - My thoughts exactly. Unfortunately it appears here too.

  • Boo Hoo
    August 10, 2013 - 08:21

    So this means she will have to pay closer to what everyone pays for rent. So what? Why not print a story where someone has a REAL ISSUE. This might encourage these free loaders to get on the ball and buy a house like the rest of us. The only sad thing about this story is that this woman raised three kids with a culture of entitlement like herself and we will eventually have to support them also.

    • Piet Hein
      August 10, 2013 - 14:56

      Boo Hoo, Good, Good, Islander, From Away, Program and Staff - you clowns are probably the most mean spirited and nasty pieces of work I have ever come across. I suppose you put slugs in the Salvation Army Christmas kettles and give spoiled food to the food bank and then have a good laugh. Something awful must have happened to you earlier in life - bad parents, lousy home life, addictions, low self esteem, poor education - to make you want to mock the less fortunate just to make yourselves feel better. Sick or what?

    • SLIPPY
      August 10, 2013 - 15:13

      @PIET, good to see you aren't painting with a wide brush, and generalizing about people, you would have to call yourself out for that. If in fact these people have gone through what you say, shouldn't you have some compassion for their point of view?

  • typical
    August 10, 2013 - 08:15

    Classic Harper/Reform/Alliance move. Kick the poor and vulnerable to the curb. The Con Ottawa bureaucrats must have been working overtime to come up with this piece of work. We now have a nastier, mean-spirited Canada.

  • Good Good
    August 10, 2013 - 08:14

    Its about time the government is stopping using taxpayers money to subsidize rent for these free loaders. I live near subsidized housing in Summerside and its a joke and unfair to those of us that have to pay our own way. These people all have satellite tv and nicer vehicles in their driveway than I do. A woman next door whose children have also moved out has a three bedroom family housing duplex unit all to herself. Canada is a great country but the Americans have a point. There is far too much social dependency and free loaders like this are hindering the rest of us from being. A falling tide lowers many boats....shame, shame,shame

  • don
    August 10, 2013 - 07:53

    i am sure shea can come up with a few billion she has money for everything else. maybe she can close one of her "3" offices?

    • Garth Staples
      August 10, 2013 - 08:16

      Housing is a provincial responsibility. If the Liberal Ghiz Govt created jobs perhaps there would not be such a need. The worst unemployment record of any province in Canada. Come on Libs, don't just sit there, do something.

  • islander
    August 10, 2013 - 07:47

    So her children are grown and she is still living in a 3 bedroom low income home. Anyone else see how wrong that is. So other single mothers are struggling to cover rent because she is in an apartment that someone else could use. If you have no kids you should not be in a 3 bedroom subsidized apartment. Let someone have it that has kids. I know a lady with 2 kids and has been on the waiting list for 5 years and your using an apartment she could be in instead of her trying to come up with 900 dollars for rent.

  • Ya Gotta Watch yer P's and Q's, what?
    August 10, 2013 - 07:13

    Corporate driven politics will always privilege pipe lines (and pavement) over poverty and people. Even questioning that principle will cast one as subversive and ignorant "of the facts". The real question is, "How did this come to be?"

    • Parent
      August 10, 2013 - 08:27

      As a parent on a fixed income I would not expect a person to have to move out of a home they have lived in for 26 years just because their kids are grown. "Islander" let those without sin cast the first stone. I'm sure you are not perfect and that's fine but you don't know Mary's situation. Just because she doesn't have kids, doesn't mean she can afford the cost of rent. Most apartments are $800 or more a month. This woman is on here trying to fix the issue so the subsidy is not taken away, she doesn't need to be abused for it.

  • just wonderin
    August 10, 2013 - 07:04

    Morrison, 73, has resided in a unit of the Island View Housing Co-op since the co-operative was established 26 years ago ... 26 years, and the mortgage isn't paid off yet?

    • David
      August 10, 2013 - 11:06

      A 66% discount on rent for 26 years and she didn't set aside anything? She needs more help than she realizes she's living in a bubble of a fantasy world. What's the point of all this if it just maintains the status quo? At some point these people receiving almost free housing should be making some progress to move on with their lives not just settle-in for 26 years of hand-outs.