Sunday, 15 December 2019

We featured Brent and Donna, the Sheet Harbour couple on income assistance, in an earlier story about the terrible state of disrepair of their public housing unit. Community Services used to pay their entire power bill, but last week they contacted me because all of a sudden they are saddled with a $60 monthly share. They don’t know why, and they don’t know how they are going to deal with it.

Lot of rent-poor people in Nova Scotia. 24,000 Nova Scotians, or one in five people who rent, spend more than 50 percent of their annual income on rent. New data released by Statistics Canada tells the story. Also, a neat app that lets you put it all on the map.

The state of public housing in Nova Scotia at times is terrible. There is no other way to describe it. Last week I drove to Sheet Harbour and met Brent and Donna, very nice people who deserve better than having to call and call again for somebody to deal with a backed up septic tank, or to have mould simply spray painted over. We hear these stories a lot, and we go check them out when we can.

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.