HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s auditor general says there were more than 6,000 applicants on the wait list for the province’s 11,000 public housing units as of the end of last year.
In a report released today, Kim Adair says there is an average wait time of about two years, with some applicants waiting much longer depending on the location and size of the housing unit required.
Adair’s audit found that regional housing authorities are not effectively managing the application and tenant-placement processes, nor were they adequately monitoring continued eligibility for public housing.
The audit says that has resulted in tenants living in units larger than they require and families remaining on the wait list.
Adair says management estimates over 1,500 units are underutilized as a result, adding that it takes more than double the 60-day target to place new tenants into vacated units.
She is making 20 recommendations, including to implement an effective governance structure, to create a fair and consistent public housing application process and to create an accurate wait-list ranking system.
The audit also reveals the current system for housing has little accountability due to missing or outdated management agreements, while there are no business plans or reporting requirements.
It says in the 2020-21 fiscal year the provincial government spent just over $54 million on its five regional housing authorities or about one-third of the $153 million operating costs.
Tenant rents covered $67 million, and the remaining $31 million was shared between the federal and municipal governments.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2022.
The Canadian Press