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The announcement from Minister Ernie Hudson on Aug. 26 is not only an insult, but it’s also too little too late. In this announcement, the Department of Social Housing and Development has provided an additional $2 million in rental vouchers, adding to the current $2 million announced in the spring 2019 provincial budget.
This government is failing to see that this housing crisis isn’t just a small cut, but a large open wound. The current vacancy rate on P.E.I. is 0.2 per cent — a drop from the 0.3 per cent when the P.E.I. Fight For Affordable Housing Group (PEIFAH) was founded.
Rental vouchers are short-term, not sufficient and a waste of taxpayer dollars that can be put to better use.
It’s the position of the PEIFAH that immediate investment in public and co-op housing conversion and construction be made.
Public and co-operative housing, while previously a federal co-operative initiative, could be established by the provincial government.
One has to look at the Nanegkam Housing Corporation created in 1974. Fifty-six, rent-geared-toincome units were offered to off-reserve Indigenous people. Today, these units are still in use and remain rent-geared to income.
This government believes that this band-aid solution will allow individuals to get “a leg up” and move on, which it might in the short-term. However, these shortsighted initiatives don’t address the financial stress of a sub-livable wage in 2019.
We cannot continue living in uncertainty within four-year mandates.
Premier King speaks of collaboration — now is the time to prove it. This is an Island crisis that requires cross-party and multi-level governmental commitments.
We ask that Mr. King deliver on his election promise that 0.2 per cent vacancy rate becomes zero.
Jason Alward (Charlottetown) and Ainsley Kendrick (Tarantum),
Members of the P.E.I. Fight For Affordable Housing Group