There's an urgent need for more accessible, low-income housing, says the P.E.I. Council of People with Disabilities.


Accessible housing is a big investment, says provincial housing co-ordinator Bill Fleming. (CBC)

Many Islanders with disabilities have a difficult time getting around regular homes. They require modifications such as wider hallways and level floor plans. Those modifications are expensive, and that can make finding a home difficult for those with disabilities who have a low income.

"If an individual is already coping with whatever type of mobility disability that they have and they're not able to meet that basic need of housing, you can feel rather depressed about the situation," said Canda MacNeil, a community access worker with the council.

When developers build accessible housing the province and Ottawa will provide funding if the landlord keeps the rent low, but it is still an expensive venture for everyone. The cost of building a unit of housing is in the $100,000 range.

Low-rent, accessible housing is especially hard to come by in Kings County. Provincial housing co-ordinator Bill Fleming said a new five-unit housing complex in Montague is a step in the right direction.   "Some may look at that and say that's not much, that's only scratching the surface, but that investment was about $600,000 or more," said Fleming.

"That's an example of the kind of investment that's necessary to respond."

Developer Wendy McQuaid built the new Montague housing. She told CBC she plans to put up more. That wouldn't happen without government assistance. The harsh reality facing developers, said McQuaid, is without that money they would have to charge high rents, or not build at all.