P.E.I. tenants face possible end to subsidies at co-op housing units

Jim Day
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Janet Keen of Charlottetown feels fortunate to be in subsidized housing that offers an affordable, good home for her son and daughter, and the family dog Jake. Rent subsidies for more than 20,000 co-op households are scheduled to end, leaving residents at risk of homelessness.

Janet Keen feels fortunate to be living in not only a decent home but also in a place she can afford.

While living with her sister for more than a year, Keen searched for an affordable home to move into with her 14-year-old son and her 10-year-old daughter.

The rent for most of the three-bedroom apartments she came across would have eaten up 60 to 70 per cent of her income.

She then heard about Westridge Estates in Charlottetown, a 16-unit housing co-op.

She moved in, and is pleased to have found a good home at a great price.

Rent costs only 25 per cent of her gross salary in her job working in the packaging department of Sekisui Diagnostics P.E.I. Inc.

The subsidy agreement is in place for the next 10 years.

“We’re lucky,’’ she says.

Other residents living in co-operative housing in P.E.I. are not as fortunate.

There are 13 housing co-ops in the province providing more than 200 homes. Nearly half of these co-ops receive subsidies that are at risk as operating agreements expire.

Housing co-ops face the end of federal operating. Rent subsidies for more than 20,000 co-op households are scheduled to end, leaving residents at risk of homelessness.

“The people most at risk here are Canadians with low incomes, the elderly, people with disabilities and new Canadians,’’ says Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF Canada) executive director Nicholas Gazzard.

“Now is the time to put the proper measures in place so that a future crisis can be averted.’’

A landlord who did not want to be identified told The Guardian tenants of a multi-unit, three-bedroom housing complex in Charlottetown will have to start paying $200 more per month in rent starting in August.

The landlord says he had been receiving $200 per unit per month in federal subsidy. That is coming to an end.

“I don’t believe there is one tenant in there that can afford the $200 (increase),’’ he says.

Keen is not sure what she would do if faced with a sharp increase in rent.

She would need to move and/or get a second job in addition to her current full-time position.

“My thought is the federal government should figure out a plan to help these families (facing an end to subsidized housing) or put a new agreement in place,’’ she says.

Thankful to be in subsidized housing, Keen has been showing her appreciation by volunteering at the CHF Canada’s annual general meeting held this week in Charlottetown.

“Everybody should be able to afford a decent quality of housing,’’ she says.


Organizations: Sekisui Diagnostics P.E.I., Housing Federation of Canada, CHF Canada

Geographic location: P.E.I., Charlottetown, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Dave
    June 07, 2015 - 15:29

    Not many details on the Federal subsidy? There was a long standing subsidy that everyone knew long ago ended this year. The idea being the subsidy was matched to the mortgages and this year it was expected the mortgages should be paid off......so the subsidy would no longer be needed. Is this the subsidy we are talking about?

  • affordable housing
    June 06, 2015 - 14:37

    Bills Lane is $875 per month..and that is called affordable housing!! How is that affordable? Having said that, there are a lot in there that are being subsidized as well...It's all who you are and who you know!!

  • Fed up
    June 06, 2015 - 09:37

    Read Kyle....it's not the Feds it's the provincial Liberals you voted back in. Pat yourself on the back...and Read!

    • Big D
      June 06, 2015 - 12:07

      >...receiving $200 per unit per month in federal subsidy.

    • Perhaps you should read
      June 06, 2015 - 13:51

      It states in the article that it is a federal subsidy that the unidentified landlord has been receiving. Before you tell Kyle to read, go do some reading yourself.

    • kyle
      June 06, 2015 - 20:24

      Housing co-ops face the end of federal operating. Rent subsidies for more than 20,000 co-op households are scheduled to end, leaving residents at risk of homelessness. I THINK IT~S YOU THAT SHOULD READ////

    • a good reader
      June 06, 2015 - 22:06

      I read it. No mention of the province whatsoever. It states ''federal subsidy'' throughout. I didn't vote for Wade provincially. But I also didn't vote for Steve federally. Both can take a slow walk up the slope of an active volcano as far as I'm concerned.

  • Platinus
    June 06, 2015 - 07:28


  • kyle
    June 06, 2015 - 06:46

    I think the feds will sign a new deal ,with the election coming. Gail and harper seem to just get a kick out of making people worry. They like to show people the power they have.

    • jimmy&barb
      June 06, 2015 - 12:44

      some in these places really need it ,some don;t. the place mentioned above is even heated out of the tax payers pockets. If you are raising a family maybe single then yes you should be in there but the ones there with adult children or "grandfathered" in should be ashamed and be told to leave so people that really need it can have it.