Housing policy improvements for seniors, vulnerable, way overdue
NDP Housing Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) says government housing policy is increasing the desperation of many of the province’s most vulnerable citizens. There is not enough public housing available, many rental properties, especially boarding houses, force people to live in deplorable conditions, government provides insufficient funds for rent supplements and then does not allow seniors who receive rent supps to transfer that allowance to a more suitable rental property – and a review of the Residential Tenancies Act is apparently gathering dust somewhere three years after new legislation was promised.
“Seniors call my office in despair. Their rents are increasing; they can’t afford to feed themselves properly or pay their heat bills. They are desperate and humiliated. Dave has been on Newfoundland and Labrador Housing’s waitlist for over a year and he’s nearly starving. He’s not alone. Our seniors need help now,” Rogers said in the House of Assembly today.
“I ask the Minister will she create a portable rent supp program for our seniors now so they can live in safety and dignity?”
Among the worst of the problems for decades has been the perennial issue of boarding houses, almost all of which receive money from government.
“Thomas lives in a horrendous boarding house in my district: bedbugs, holes in walls, filth, inadequate food. His rent is paid by AESL and Health and Community Services. He is one of many vulnerable people living in these deplorable conditions. Hard earned and valuable taxpayers’ money is going directly into the pockets of slum landlords,” said Rogers.
“I ask the Ministers why not ensure taxpayers get better value for their money by making sure these boarding houses provide proper services?”