Gerry Rogers Question Period (06.20.2012)

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for St. John's Centre.

MS ROGERS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!
The Speaker has recognized the Member for St. John's Centre.

MS ROGERS:Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
My question is for the Minister Responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation and I know he is expecting it, so I assume he will be ready.
Many seniors who are struggling to pay rent cannot be helped by the Rent Supplement Program because there is a wait-list and payments are tied to the landlord. Mr. Speaker, British Columbia has a special program called Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters, which pays a monthly rental allowance directly to all low-income seniors who need it.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the minister: Will his government implement a specific rental allowance program for seniors in this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Transportation and Works.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEDDERSON: Again, Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for an advance copy of her question. I will proceed to talk about what the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp are doing for seniors and what this government is doing for seniors here in Newfoundland and Labrador.
For instance, with the affordable housing, Mr. Speaker, we are investing heavily and right now we have about 1,100 units ready for seniors, in particular, or those with challenges. As well, Mr. Speaker, we have managed housing –and I just reference one in particular from the District of St. John's North, Northwest Rotary. We have forty units, Mr. Speaker, especially for seniors, and the average rent is a little over $300 a month.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The Member for St. John's Centre.

MS ROGERS: Mr. Speaker, the Provincial Home Repair Program has a wait-list of 2,200 people and the maximum grant is only $5,000, in today's dollars, and after that you have to take out a loan or wait seven years to reapply for more work. Mr. Speaker, most of the people who use the program are low-income seniors. We have the fastest aging population in the country, proportionately.

I ask the minister: Will his government increase the amount of home repair grants so more seniors can remain living in their homes?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Transportation and Works.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. HEDDERSON: Mr. Speaker, one of the most successful programs that we have in our housing corp. We are talking about investing – I am just looking at, $9.8 million last year helped 2,500 homeowners, mostly seniors in rural areas. Mr. Speaker, I ask again, what more can we do?

Associated Caucus Members: 

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