Low-income Canadians about to feel affordable housing crunch
Published Wednesday, February 5, 2014 6:13PM EST
Affordable housing stakeholders are sounding the alarm about the end of federal subsidy agreements.
They say it's a $1.7 billion bubble about to burst.
As the Canadian government prepares its budget, stakeholders are lobbying for cash and demanding the federal Conservatives step up so people can stay in their homes.
"When those agreements expire, there's no more federal funding available. The people that are receiving assistance, very well many not receive it anymore," says Harvey Cooper with the Co-op Housing Federation of Canada.
"Some people refer to it as a bomb. It is already starting to go off and that means that the provinces, the municipalities are receiving less money, but the need for housing, for seniors, for young people, for the homeless, continues to go up," laments London Mayor Joe Fontana.
The Native Inter-tribal Housing Cooperative has seen many of its residents leave homes because as their subsidy agreements expire, they've been forced to raise their rents and some residents simply can't afford the increase.
"With no subsidy, we can't subsidize the housing charges for the people living there. So we have to raise, they have to start paying what's called market rent. They can't afford market rent," says Lloyd Stevenson of the Native Inter-tribal Housing Cooperative.
In London alone, 2,000 people are waiting for a coveted home and many expect that list to get longer.
"When one in four Canadians are facing these challenges, that means Londoners, one in four are facing these challenges," adds Fontana.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities hope the government will continue to fund these homes long after the agreements expire.
But some are bracing for the worst, "Some basically, could end up homeless," says Stevenson.