Why P.E.I. is giving people money for rent
'We wanted to be flexible'
The P.E.I. government will meet its target of 275 new affordable housing units in this fiscal year in part by directly giving money to people to help them pay the rent.
Rental supplements have traditionally been paid directly to landlords, but Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy said the government wanted to move more quickly than that old model was allowing.
"We wanted to be flexible," said Mundy.
"We wanted to make sure that Islanders were receiving the benefit. Just because a landlord might not be familiar with the program and might not be comfortable with the program in the beginning we didn't want the client to have to suffer. So that's why we said well let's be flexible, make sure we're getting the money out the door and to the people who are in the most need."
The province says it has created 230 rental supplement agreements, and expects to reach or pass the 275 target by the end of March.
The agreements use median rental costs as a guideline for the amount of the supplement, with participants paying 25 per cent of their income towards rent.
Mundy described the direct-to-tenants payments as a pilot project, and said staff are keeping track of whether the rent is getting paid.
There are 1,300 Island households that have expressed an interest in the province's affordable housing program, said Mundy, and they are working through that list. The department is not tracking wait times.
Mundy said the province has received 200 expressions of interest from developers looking to build affordable housing.
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With files from Island Morning