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PIX BUTT: Rent geared to income

Social Services and Seniors Minister Doug Currie, left, joins Kristen Callaghan, a tenant of Life Bridge; Caroline Arsenault, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporate Representative, Life Bridge Inc. and Mayor Clifford Lee of the City of Charlottetown in officially opening Life Bridge, an affordable housing project on Beach Grove Road in Charlottetown. 

(File photo)
Social Services and Seniors Minister Doug Currie, left, joins Kristen Callaghan, a tenant of Life Bridge; Caroline Arsenault, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporate Representative, Life Bridge Inc. and Mayor Clifford Lee of the City of Charlottetown in officially opening Life Bridge, an affordable housing project on Beach Grove Road in Charlottetown. (File photo)

What can governments do to help this situation that is desperate for many?

Hello Mr. Lee and Ms. Mundy. My name is Pix Butt. I am a United Church minister on the Island. I recently met a woman needing the support of Anderson House. We are fortunate to have such a facility with such dedicated and well-equipped staff to give aid when women and children need it so desperately.

Of course we would like to become a violence-free province, and many are working toward that goal, as we live with the reality that we have many miles to go on that journey. In the meantime, women and children go to Anderson House and immediately begin trying to find a place to live before their three-week stay comes to an end.

Sadly, they often can’t find anything they can afford or that offers much more safety than the places they left. Often they return to the violence.

I know you and all the councilors know all of this. The big issue is, what can all of us do to help.

I understand there are two housing projects before Charlottetown City Council at this time. Does council push for these projects to include ‘rent geared to income’ units? Why could we not do that? One of the projects before you is to create micro units in the downtown. These would be smaller than most now offered and therefore would be a little less expensive. Although these would still be beyond some, they would open up possibilities for some as well. I hope this project is viewed as something needed in the city.

Of course, there are people in need outside of Charlottetown as well.

I know of five organizations that are offering units with ‘rent geared to income.’ I have talked with all of them in the last month and know that presently their waiting lists are long.

Ms. Mundy, what can government do to help this situation that is desperate for many?

Island churches may be a possible partner for government and councils. Let¹s get talking about some ideas on how to do more than offer long waiting lists to people in need.

- Rev. Pix Butt is the pastor at Margate Pastoral Charge, United Church of Canada

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