SUMMERSIDE – Island Senator Catherine Callbeck is calling on the Conservative government to work toward a long-term vision for affordable housing for seniors and low-income Canadians.
© Submitted photo
Senator Catherine Callbeck.
The senator said over the next few years about $1.7 billion in long-term social housing agreements with the federal government will be expiring across the country, including agreements on Prince Edward Island worth about $12 million a year.
Callbeck said the federal government subsidizes 3,100 households across P.E.I.
“It’s my understanding that with the 3,100 households, we’re talking senior citizens housing and low-income housing, and there is money through the agreement that comes to the province and all of that money goes to help subsidize those rents,” she said. “That’s pretty important.”
Callbeck said those agreements are suppose to start expiring in 2019 so there is a need to get new agreements in place but nothing seems to be happening.
“I can’t find where there has been any movement (on getting a new agreement),” she said. “I’m told that provincial ministers have been asking for discussions with the federal minister because they want to plan for the future and get on with this. So far, their requests have gone unanswered.”
Callbeck said there is a need for these agreements especially with people living longer.
“Our senior population is growing, there’s not question about that,” she said on the need for a new agreement.
The senator said it also involves co-op housing. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has agreements with housing co-ops including 13 on P.E.I. that provide 102 subsidized units for low-income Islanders.
“There are two parts to this,” she said. “There’s the co-op agreement, too. We have 13 co-ops on P.E.I. About half of those are for low-income subsidized housing. And there again, the federal government sends money to help subsidize that rent. The federal government has said that when those expire, which I understand is between 2018 and 2026, that they are not going to renew them.”
Callbeck aid the federal; government has brought in some measures to help the co-operatives through the transition period.
“The two programs are pretty important to Prince Edward Island,” she said. “ It’s very unfortunate that the federal government isn’t paying any attention to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities because they’ve been engaged in a campaign to encourage a long-term housing plan for Canada.”