Desperately seeking shelter

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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Affordable one-bedroom apartments hard to come by

The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp. is facing greater challenges meeting the demographic needs of the province. - Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

The demographic needs of Newfoundland and Labrador when it comes to housing are among the greater challenges facing the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp., (NLHC) according to its chairman and CEO.

"Probably half of the people on our wait lists are people who need one-bedroom apartments," said Len Simms.

"They're single, or they're a couple. We don't have very many one-bedroom apartments."

The NLHC is the largest landlord in the province, with more than 8,500 affordable housing units.

"We have a role to play, but everybody has to work to solve problems," said Simms.

"We don't have all the answers, and we can't fix all the problems."

The primary focus of the NLHC is to provide affordable housing opportunities to residents of the province with low incomes or disabilities.

"That sometimes gets confused with the issue of housing affordability. That's the other issue, which is generally market-driven - the prices of houses and increased rentals. That's not the area we have the responsibility or mandate for. Our mandate is the people that are most vulnerable, and that's what we focus on."

To accommodate the needs of people looking for single-bedroom units - many of whom are seniors - Simms said NLHC's rent supplement program has been put to great use. The program handles approximately 1,700 placements.

"Those are placements we make in partnership with a landlord. We inspect the apartments and that sort of thing, and we provide a rent supplement to the landlord to assist the low-income person who's on our wait list."

Tuesday's provincial budget contained some news on housing. The province announced the NLHC will contribute $2.7 million towards the federal-provincial affordable housing initiative as part of its $8.1-million, three-year commitment to build 254 affordable housing units across Newfoundland and Labrador.

The poverty reduction strategy received an $11.3-million boost, to bring its budget to $150.8 million for 2012.

Simms serves on the deputy minister's committee for the Department of Advanced Education and Skills - the department in charge of overseeing the strategy.

"We've been part of the poverty strategy since Day 1," said Simms.

The NLHC's 10-year social housing plan, called Secure Foundations, was developed in co-operation with community partners such as Choices For Youth and Stella Burry Community Services.

"Not only do we do it in partnership with them and with their help, but they're actually the ones who probably designed this in the end," said Simms.

The NLHC has implemented measures to improve the plan since it was unveiled in 2009. Simms said the organization is receptive to input and has implemented many of the ideas brought forward by interested parties.

Between its non-profit focused supportive housing projects and private sector partnerships to offer affordable rental units to the public, Simms said, more than 1,100 new affordable housing units will have been built by March 2014. That date marks the expiration of the current federal-provincial initiative on affordable housing.

Simms said he is hopeful that initiative will be renewed in some form.

arobinson@thetelegram.com Twitter: TeleAndrew

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Housing, Department of Advanced Education and Skills, Youth and Stella Burry Community Services

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Jamie
    May 03, 2012 - 17:08

    Todd is right..Its horrible how newfoundlanders treat people here and they do discrimate when it comes to applying for apartments. I am from here originally(ashamed to say) but I guess i am use to modern day civilization where people live in modern day times and not 10 years or more behind way of thinking. Exact reasons why I am not staying in this hell hole of a province. AS for tones of jobs???sureeeee..if you want to work in McDonalds or Tim Hortins. Let me tell you people about actually prosperity outside of the province out west since most of you that posted live in a fishbowl. It is when you walk in a place and apply for a job and they say" can you start tomorrow?" Because they need the people so badly. Employeers in the city in Newfoundland get loads and loads of applications for jobs and they can still pick and choose their employees and treat them like crap for minimal money. The old and ancient way of governing I like to refer it too. Actually being on E.I and working part-time is the better way to go. You are fine in this province, if you get loaded every weekend, smoke like a tilt, and stuff your face with mary brown's , Ches's fish and chips, plus other bad foods. That is why newfoundland has the highest obesidy , highest colon cancer and high heart disease in Canada. i guess thats why Mc Donalds and Tim Hornits and other fast food places are hiring. Cant wait to get out of here in June! :)

  • Peggy
    May 01, 2012 - 08:48

    Sheila, You hit the nail right on the head with your comments. I agree totally. And why wasn't he working BEFORE the fire if he has university, as he states. Exactly because of what you wrote in your post, Sheila.

    • todd
      May 01, 2012 - 12:07

      Actually, I was working, BUT I GOT LAID OFF DUE TO NO FAULT OF MINE! MY WORK LOST A CONTRACT AND TOOK OUT THE NEW WORKER AND I WORKED VERY HARD FOR LITTLE! I am on EI looking for more work. Work is not really that easy to get when you've been laid off. I've put lots of resumes out. Before you start judging why not think a sec before you let crap come out of your mouth. You people who are judging me are the reason why it is hard to find work, and hard to get ahead in ever so wonderful Newfoundland. I am out myself. I even still keep all of my studying for my work up to date. I am not some slob just sitting home, but you know what, those people are just as good as some of you who are too quick to place judgements. Have a nice life judging everyone and everything. Pretty sad if you ask me. I knew someone would say something to me because I said I was on EI, it is expected from judgemental Newfoundlanders such as yourselves. You are the reason this place will fall.

  • Sheila
    May 01, 2012 - 07:30

    Todd, I would like to know why you appear to think that Newfoundland, Newfoundlanders, landlords, Human rights etc. are out to get you! Could it be because you have a huge chip on your shoulders and are one of the many that think a College Degree (which in today's market places is equal to High School) means you should make mega bucks. Take the lower paying job, report your earnings to EI, make a positive impression on the boss and maybe you will find that you will get ahead in the job and earn more. Yes, you were in a fire, but using that as a excuse for being what appears to me a crybaby will get you nowhere. As for telling this man Marg to move to another Province since he appears to hate being in Newfoundland will not cure his problem.....he is one of the many that wants much given while doing little to earn it in my opinion. His type would complain if they lived at Buckingham Palace...he appears to be a lazy, whiner with just more then a tad of annoying in his personality.

    • todd
      May 01, 2012 - 12:02

      Actually, I was working, BUT I GOT LAID OFF DUE TO NO FAULT OF MINE! I am on EI looking for more work. Work is not really that easy to get when you've been laid off. I've put lots of resumes out. Before you start judging why not think a sec before you let crap come out of your mouth. You people who are judging me are the reason why it is hard to find work, and hard to get ahead in ever so wonderful Newfoundland. I am out myself. I even still keep all of my studying for my work up to date. I am not some slob just sitting home, but you know what, those people are just as good as some of you who are too quick to place judgements. Have a nice life judging everyone and everything. Pretty sad if you ask me. I knew someone would say something to me because I said I was on EI, it is expected from judgemental Newfoundlanders such as yourselves. You are the reason this place will fall.

  • Wendy
    April 30, 2012 - 07:48

    Todd, You state that you have University. If that's the case, why were you not working before the fire? Hate NL so much, why stay here?

  • Marg
    April 30, 2012 - 07:26

    Todd, If you think Newfoundland is SO CRAPPY, why don't you and your partner just move to another Province ? But I'm sure you will come up with some kind of excuse. There are signs up all over St. John's and area saying "Now Hiring". Maybe your partner could get a job until you are on your feet, and then make plans to go to school in September.

  • Jerome
    April 29, 2012 - 20:10

    This is getting much too personal.

  • pAAAAHHH LEase
    April 29, 2012 - 15:15

    seriuosly ....working a 10-12 hr job at 30 hrs a week would give ya over 300 a week ......ive been living off part time jobs all my life ....just those on EI DONT wanna work for min wage .....gawd makes me sick

    • todd
      April 29, 2012 - 16:47

      LOL I would rather not be on EI as I had stated. Stop acting like you know what people go through. You have no idea what I've been through in crappy newfoundland. I have college already and my partner is trying for it. Rent is terrible and people are very discriminatory. You are the type of person causing this problem.

    • todd
      April 29, 2012 - 16:51

      Oh and just to add, most positions are seasonal and temp, and part time. Not everyone wants to work 2 part time jobs or can. DO YOU LIKE GET I WAS IN A FIRE YOU INCONSIDERATE FOOL! AND THAT RENT IS SOARING! sounds like a newfoundlander! lol

  • todd
    April 28, 2012 - 21:00

    I am currently trying to get into housing because my place burned down...no response yet and probably won't for a while. I fall into the catagory of couple without children so it looks like it is going to take a long time to get a place. In the meantime, the rent is now 800+ and many of the renters are very discriminatory. I emailed human rights about it, because they are asking for age, proof of employment, etc. They of course won't do anything, but it my opinion, it is a human rights issue. You can't judge people based on any of those merits! People cannot prevent becoming unemployed and having to be on ei because all that is in newfoundland is 10-12 dollar an hour temp jobs with no raises. I am not 19, but I have to wonder how people 18-19 get an apartment when all of the landlords are requiring you to give that info and won't let younger people rent. It shouldn't be. Most Newfoundlanders are greedy as I have said in other threads, and nobody can argue with that! It is completely despicable! I saw people talking about the fire I was in, trying to say a bunch of poor people lived there! How rude and judgmental! A fire can happen anywhere, at any time! The fire was in another apartment, not mine, but I know it was an issue with the stove which I think should have been checked! I may be on ei but I want to work and jobs are pretty scarce themselves now and hard to get when you are unemployed! I am a hard worker and it is bull that people would act this way no matter what the case! I am trying to study on my own while I have nothing. My partner is trying to go back to school, and in the crisis we are in now, it will be near impossible to save up any money! Meanwhile, the city helps slumlords with their apartments and the slumlords just don't bother to actually fix the problem. I had a complaint in with the city months before the fire! The inspectors came over and looked at absolutely nothing and the landlord walked around with them as if they were trying to keep my mouth shut! I unfortuately had no where to turn to, and then I am caught in a fire because the city didn't inspect it correctly! I am sure there are also people who have it worse than me! I for one am very mad at what people are becoming. Shame on everyone!

  • Bernadette doyle
    April 28, 2012 - 18:13

    I say people in apts shoild be able to claim their rent on taxes and we'll see then what landlords will charge.. It terrible what they are charing for renal properies.