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Rob Altemeyer, MLA Wolseley
November 6, 2017

Housing Issues in West Broadway

Madame Speaker, many of my constituents are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet due to rising housing costs. The recent media attention on rising homelessness in West Broadway should cause the Pallister government to act, but their policies are actively making this situation worse, not better.

Despite being in office for 18 months, the Pallister government has failed to commit funding to a single new social housing project. The “Housing First” experiment our NDP government funded proved that providing safe, stable and affordable housing is necessary – and far more cost effective - so vulnerable people can begin addressing other challenges in their lives. The NDP was building hundreds of new social housing units every year, but the Pallister government has slammed the door shut. No kidding homelessness is on the rise!

Homeowners in twenty-three neighbourhoods across Manitoba used to have access to the Community Housing Improvement program. Its small subsidies would help homeowners complete repairs they otherwise couldn’t afford, leading to more stable housing and more stable neighbourhoods. Naturally, the Pallister government heard about this great success story and cut all funding this year.

Renters are facing multiple attacks from this government. The Rent Assist benefit brought in by our NDP government provides financial support to Manitobans living in private sector rental housing. True to form, the Pallister government took out its budget knife and cut Rent Assist benefits, harming the budgets of seniors, students, low-income workers and other vulnerable people by hundreds or even over $1,000 per year.

Not even Manitoba Housing residents were spared. In a truly warped celebration of Canada Day, the Pallister government on July 1 increased rent in Manitoba Housing by up to $60 per month, or $720 per year. This is so counter-productive it is mind-boggling. As one media report documented, a single mom raising two children with special needs was evicted when this rent increase meant she fell behind in her payments.

On behalf of all my constituents, I call on the Pallister government to immediately reverse course on its housing policy, stop attacking the most vulnerable members of our society, and start doing its job of making life better for Manitobans, not worse.