NDP announce plan to help seniors with housing
The NDP in Newfoundland and Labrador continued their campaign promises Tuesday by announcing housing assistance for seniors and low income earners.
In St. John's, NDP candidate for St. John's Centre, Gerry Rogers, announced a Seniors Rental Assistance Program.
"The key social determinant that pushes our seniors into poverty is the high cost of housing," said Rogers.
"The stories are heartbreaking … how many seniors say to me 'these are supposed to be my golden years, I never thought I would get to this point'."
Yvonne Morgan lives in St. John's and knows first hand how hard it is to live on a low income.
She struggled for years after a number of personal and health setbacks before finally getting a rental supplement. Even with the supplement, she still struggles.
"My quality of life went from fairly good to absolutely horrible, it was like I lived in a black hole, it sucked the life out of me," said Morgan.
"I don't know what it is to have fruit, vegetables, dairy — can't afford none of that."
In the current rental subsidy program, the supplement is tied to the housing unit and not the individual who lives there.
The NDP's plan will commit an additional $500,000 to rental supplements for seniors, with the amount they receive based on their income.
It also promises to make it 'portable', meaning the supplement is tied to the individual and not the landlord.
"Then they will be able to get a rent supplement that will enable them to rent an apartment in the area where they choose," said Rogers.
In addition, the program will also look at offering assistance to seniors to negotiate rental costs and help with the search for an affordable place to live.
NDP Leader Earle McCurdy also released details of the plan in Labrador.
Rental costs there can run anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500 monthly.
McCurdy said a government under his leadership would address the high cost of rent to improve the lives of people in the region.
"Although there's a tremendous amount of money in circulation in the area, that huge Muskrat Falls project … there's also a lot of people making the same money they always made in lower paid jobs," he said.
McCurdy added that the New Democratics would double the amount of money earmarked for rent supplements in Labrador to more than $200,000 annually.