Advocates, clients worried about cuts to Sask. rental housing supplement
Program that gives low-income people assistance with rent will stop taking new clients July
The clock is ticking on a provincial program that helps make rental housing more affordable for low-income people.
As of July 1, the Ministry of Social Services will no longer be accepting applicants into its rental housing supplement program.
Under the program, a family with one to two children living in Saskatoon or Regina can receive a maximum supplement of $305 per month, while a single person can receive a maximum disability supplement of $262 per month.
At a rally organized by the opposition NDP, people receiving the supplement said they need the extra money to make ends meet.
"If they take that away, where do we come up with that rent?" said mother of three Crystal Linka. "Our child tax benefit, that doesn't cover rent nowadays, we have groceries and utilities and some people have bus passes or car fuel or car plates."
The province announced the program would be capped during this year's provincial budget. It estimates the changes will save the province $5 million a year.
Social Services said the program was no longer as necessary because vacancy rates have risen significantly since the program was introduced.
However, people at the rally said rents have not dropped at the same time.
"I still take 80 dollars out of my budget, which is my food money for my diabetes, to cover my rent," she said. "And I don't live in a fancy place. It's a 500 square foot house in the core neighbourhood."
The province has said it is working with the federal government to implement a new Canada Housing Benefit in 2020.