P.E.I. legislative committee calls for inspection of all government-funded housing

·2 min read
MLA Hannah Bell, opposition critic for social development and housing, says she has heard from some residents of public housing about substandard living conditions.  (P.E.I. Legislative Assembly - image credit)
MLA Hannah Bell, opposition critic for social development and housing, says she has heard from some residents of public housing about substandard living conditions. (P.E.I. Legislative Assembly - image credit)

P.E.I.'s legislative standing committee on health and social development is recommending the provincial government regularly inspect public housing it owns or funds through rent supplements, and report back on those inspections annually.

MLA and housing opposition critic Hannah Bell, a member of the committee, said she has heard from some public housing residents about substandard living conditions.

"We had heard that some housing is not adequate, it's not safe, whether it's mould or disrepair," said Bell in the committee meeting.

"Why are you funding accommodations for islanders that don't meet basic health and safety standards?"

Minister of Housing Brad Trivers says the government does provide inspections of public housing, and if tenants have a safety issue with their publicly-funded units, they should raise it.
Minister of Housing Brad Trivers says the government does provide inspections of public housing, and if tenants have a safety issue with their publicly-funded units, they should raise it. (P.E.I. Legislative Assembly )

The P.E.I. government owns 1,600 social housing units across the province, including seniors' manors, apartment buildings, family homes and rental units.

Housing minister Brad Trivers, also a member of the health and social development committee, said the government does regularly inspect government-owned housing and tries to fix problems that occur.

However, he said rental supplements provided for privately-owned apartments are a different situation.

"It's an agreement between the tenant and a private landlord, it's not the government, and so we really don't have a mandate to go in to provide inspections at this time," Trivers told the committee.

"I think it's a very challenging situation."

"When it comes to a tenant, if they feel that they are in some sort of unsafe housing, make sure that you do speak up." - Brad Trivers, P.E.I.'s housing minister

Bell said she and other opposition MLAs get consistent feedback from seniors about poor conditions in seniors' homes.

"For instance, air circulation, lack of air conditioning, intermittent heating, repairs, basic repairs not being done, and safety issues around electricity or around plumbing," said Bell.

Trivers said tenants should speak up if they feel they are in unsafe housing.

"We have your backs, we want to make sure that you're in safe housing," he said.

Trivers said he realizes that's a hard thing to do during the current housing crisis on P.E.I.

He also said the residential properties act is being rewritten, so some changes may be considered to address these issues.

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