MONCTON – A Moncton homeless advocate says the provincial and federal governments need to step up efforts to address the province’s growing wait list for affordable housing.
Sue Calhoun speaks for the Greater Moncton Homelessness Steering Committee and says winter months are especially hard on people waiting for affordable housing.
“A lot of people are really hurting as we move into the winter,” she said. “People who are paying rent now have to pay oil bills and electricity bills and they’re really pushed to cover all that.”
The Department of Social Development says there are 5,500 people on the wait list for affordable housing in the province.
Last year, the provincial and federal governments extended their affordable housing agreement. The $78-million agreement to provide more affordable housing ends in 2019.
It includes building new residences and improving residences already in use.
But Calhoun says both sides still need to step up efforts to address the province’s affordable housing problem.
“We think they both have a responsibility to house people,” she said. “We have a serious situation with homelessness with people who are precariously housed.”
Many people have been on the wait list for years.
At Moncton’s Karing Kitchen Beverly Bourque says she’s been waiting for a reply for three years.
“It would make it so much easier because I would get groceries and not have to rely on food banks and soup kitchens,” she said.
Others like David Pelerine say people are getting fed up. He says he’s been waiting seven years for help.
“There’s just so many people and everybody’s tired of waiting,” he said.