Shelter Allowances Boosted In High-Rent Markets

Friday, September 04, 2009 at 12:43



The minister of Social Services says adjustments to the province’s shelter allowance programs are in line with the government’s commitment to help low-income families with housing costs.


The latest rate increases take effect Oct. 1 in places that have seen average rental prices go up in the last six months, including La Loche, La Ronge, Creighton and Prince Albert.


Donna Harpauer says by reviewing new Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) stats on market prices every six months, and bumping the shelter allowances up accordingly, the province helps ensure that fewer people suffer when a housing market jumps.


She says that wasn’t the case prior to a task force review of housing affordability last year.


“We were hearing a lot about pressures of low-income or no-income families and individuals, saying that the rents were going up, and the rates that they were allowed through our shelter allowance didn’t begin to meet the need,” Harpauer says.


The shelter allowance now covers 70 per cent of the average rental housing price in a given community — and those who also qualify for the province’ rental supplement can get coverage for the remaining 30 per cent.


People with disabilities can qualify for an additional 10 per cent from the rental supplement program, due to the challenges they face in finding accessible housing.