Protesters take to Legislative Building after province ends rental housing subsidies
REGINA -- Protesters marched at the Legislative Building to show their displeasure with the Provincial Government’s decision to end co-operative rental subsidies.
“Without the housing subsidy, I don’t think I’m going to be able to manage financially for the next few years,” Karen Tadei, who lives in a housing co-operative, said.
The Co-operative Housing Association of Saskatchewan organized the protest as many of the residents that make up co-operatives around the province require the subsidy to be able to afford their rent.
“People are concerned that they’re going to lose their house that they’ve lived in for many, many years, they’re losing their communities, their gardens, their pets if they’re forced to move away because of these cuts to our subsidy program,” Maria Vaiaso, Vice-President of the Co-Operative Housing Association of Saskatchewan, said.
The Government of Saskatchewan entered into 35-year agreements with co-operatives, which provided subsidies to offset mortgage costs and allow the organizations to provide reduced rent for co-operative members with lower incomes.
Protesters presented a petition with more than 1,500 signatures to NDP Housing Critic Nicole Rancourt, who says the government needs to do more to help low income renters.
“The cost of living has been increasing and if they lose that supplement that might mean that they’ll need to look for other housing and we know that a lot of these individuals, looking for other housing is not an option because it will just be more expensive as well,” she said.
The Provincial Government says economically it doesn’t make sense to continue the subsidy and anyone experiencing any issues finding housing should contact the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.
“We addressed it a few years ago that we wanted them to get into a position where they had more people subsidizing than were being subsidized, a lot of the co-operatives at that point decided to move in that direction, some of them chose not to and again, that’s up to their individual boards on how they want to handle that,” Paul Merriman, Minister of Social Services, said.