Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Issues around affordable housing in rural Nova Scotia are not the same as those in Halifax or even Sydney. Rural housing advocates from across Nova Scotia are getting together this month to exchange ideas and hopefully lay the foundation for a more coordinated approach to advocacy in the future.

Tenants of Harbour City Homes on Brunswick Street don’t know that their landlord is up to. Last summer the not-for-profit was forced to sell nine buildings and 34 affordable housing units were lost to the North End. Are things going better now? Having a seat on the Board of Directors would answer such questions, tenants suggest. Right now the company isn’t talking.

This documentary may be low on production values, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Meet five different people, all pretty young, all struggling to make ends meet. You get the sense these are friends and acquaintances of the director, who doesn’t judge and just lets the camera (or cell phone) run, just lets people tell their stories. The result is something definitely worth checking out.

Meet Joanne (not her real name). Joanne lives in a mid-sized town somewhere in rural Nova Scotia with her three kids, two boys and one girl. Her teenage son has intellectual disabilities and requires special care. Several years ago she fled an abusive relationship and she has not yet been able to resume a public live, something most of us take for granted. She is on Income Assistance. “I am poor,” she says, “but I budget well.”

“To have a roof over your head and to not go hungry are fundamental human rights,” NDP leader Gary Burrill told the Nova Scotia Advocate to explain the party’s proposed amendments to the Human Rights Act. Lawyer Claire McNeil tells us why this would be a very significant change, and one that is long overdue.