Saskatchewan needs more affordable housing, not none

NDP strongly opposes government decision to eliminate Affordable Housing Program

Unable to keep up with the need for affordable housing, the government has decided to get rid of it all – a decision the NDP says is backward.

The government announced Thursday it will eliminate affordable housing, and now only offer social housing – a program designed for only the very lowest income and vulnerable people, such as those who are unable to work, homeless or victims of domestic violence.

The thousands of struggling low-income families who have previously qualified for affordable housing – an income-tested housing category that provides housing at below market rates – will have nowhere to turn.

“Basically, what the government is saying with this announcement is that if you’re low-income and struggling, tough luck. You’re on your own. You no longer have options through the government,” said David Forbes, NDP Social Services critic. “Social housing is important, as it serves the most vulnerable. But, there are a lot of families that are working, but struggling to make ends meet, and they need that affordable housing option.

“We know we need more affordable housing, not none.”

With the government’s announcement, about 1,400 families living in affordable housing will see their rents increase. If they refuse to leave their affordable homes, their rents will be raised repeatedly to force them out, according to the government. The background material from the government says it will use rent increases to “incent” families to leave.

“There is a huge need for more affordable housing in Saskatchewan,” said Forbes. “Yet, this is the government that decided to sell 300 homes from the affordable housing program. Then they gave away an apartment building of affordable units as a favour to the developer, Devereaux Homes, and the minister said it wasn’t a concern because she didn’t believe there were desperate homeless people in Saskatchewan. MLA Colleen Young stated publicly that she doesn’t want the government in the affordable housing business.

“This government should have been trying to build enough affordable housing to give families a fair shot at success. Instead, they’re been trying to duck this responsibility – and that’s so out of touch with what Saskatchewan needs.”

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus