Affordable housing scarce in Labrador West

Despite the prosperity in western Labrador, some residents say they are struggling to find affordable housing.

Consultants gathering information from residents, area officials

Houses in Labrador City cost around $400,000 each, according to residents. (CBC)

Despite the booming economy in western Labrador, some residents say they're still struggling to find affordable housing.

"It's really high rental in the marketplace right now," said resident Blair Pearcey. "You know, it's two, three thousand dollars a month."

Blair Pearcey says he and his wife have full-time jobs, but they still can't find housing they can afford in western Labrador. (CBC)

Pearcey and his wife, who both have full-time jobs, are staying with friends while they search for their own home.

The booming iron ore industry has attracted many people earning high wages, but the demand for housing in Labrador City and Wabush far outstrips the supply, causing rental rates and mortgages to skyrocket, with an average home price of $400,000.

"It's frustrating," said Pearcey. "The housing is there, but the price of housing is kind of out of reach for what you're making in wages."

Consultants investigating

The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation has hired the consulting firm OrgCode to hold meetings and collect information on the housing situation in western Labrador.

At one of those meetings this week, some said they had housing for now but knew that at any time their landlords could increase the rent on their apartments, and they could be on the streets.

They also voiced concern over the quality of rental units. Some said they were afraid to report substandard housing to the town councils in Labrador City or Wabush because they said they feared that could affect their relationship with other landlords.

The consultants will deliver their findings to the provincial government. But in the meantime, Pearcey said he was hoping to find a home for his family before winter weather sets in.