Calgary complex for the mentally ill axes housing subsidy
'Right now I pay $300. I'm going to have to pay $1,200,' said one Potential Place tenant
A dozen Calgary tenants living in subsidized housing for the mentally ill say they will soon be paying substantially more for rent.
Potential Place, a mental health organization, plans to terminate its subsidy program in three months.
On Thursday, CBC News Calgary will look at the management shakeup at Potential Place and internal changes at the organization that led to the rent increases and other alleged problems.
"Right now I pay $300. I'm going to have to pay $1,200," said Al Gosselin, who has lived at the apartment complex for six years.
He is one of 26 people who live in two apartment buildings owned by Potential Place.
About half of the tenants have Calgary Housing subsidies to help them pay the rent, but there is a cap on the number of units that Calgary Housing can subsidize in those buildings.
The rest have been getting subsidies from Potential Place for years, but now the organization is under new management.
"We're not in the rent subsidy business," said Frank Kelton, interim executive director of Potential Place.
"We are non-profit, non-governmental. What's happening is some members are being subsidized through operational income we get through rent."
Kelton says advocates will help tenants apply for new subsidies through other organizations.
Gosselin says the future is uncertain.
"So essentially this whole thing could make me homeless? Yeah, maybe it comes to that, maybe it doesn't. I can't predict the future," he said.
Resident John Zinck is also worried.
"I've never been on the streets, I've been really, really, really lucky, but to know that's what I'm facing, it's a scary thought," he said.
Potential Place says it will deal with each case individually and doesn’t plan to evict anyone who can't make their rent right away.