N.S. needs funding boost for low-cost housing in ‘perfect storm’ of shortages: report

Click to play video: 'Social disparities of COVID-19 pandemic'
Social disparities of COVID-19 pandemic
A recent positive case of COVID-19 at a Halifax shelter is a sobering reminder of the social disparities this pandemic can have. Alexa MacLean reports. – May 6, 2021

A commission looking into Nova Scotia’s affordable housing shortage is calling on the province to swiftly invest $25 million to support 600 to 900 households in finding reasonably priced, safe accommodation.

The 61-page report prepared by the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Commission and released today comes after a public outcry last fall over a series of evictions of low-income tenants and rising homelessness in Halifax.

The provincial Liberal government brought in temporary rent controls in November, capping annual increases at two per cent annually, and appointed a 17-person commission to propose solutions to a low-income housing shortage that it said was growing worse during the pandemic.

Read more: N.S. contributes $6.4M to affordable housing projects in Halifax, Annapolis Valley

The commission’s report says rising housing costs, high energy costs, a growing population and Nova Scotia’s high poverty rate created a “perfect storm” last year that pushed the housing system to a breaking point.

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It calls for the government to commit within 100 days to provide funding for quick access to affordable housing to 600 to 900 households.

The commission notes the longer-term funding need is much larger but says this initial investment would help deal with the current crisis in the province.

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