Private rental housing providers figure in the Quebec government’s plan to increase its supply of subsidized units. The recently released 2015-16 provincial budget pledges $123 million over the next five years to fund an additional 5,800 rent supplements.
Under the current program, families or individuals on official waiting lists for subsidized housing can qualify for rent supplements, which cover the difference between tenants’ geared-to-income contribution and the contracted rent with the housing provider. Tenants pay a share equivalent to 25 per cent of their income.
Some rent supplements are tied to units in housing cooperatives and developments operated by non-profit organizations, while the Société d’habitation du Québec allocates the remainder to its various housing bureaus to secure privately owned accommodations. Units are contracted for five years in both cases.
The new supplements will be added in phased installments, with 1,000 units slated for this year and another 1,200 in each of the four subsequent budget years. The 2015-16 budget also confirms $126 million to build 1,500 new social housing units over the same five-year period.
Looking west, Alberta’s 2015 provincial budget — released on the same day as Quebec’s — earmarks $561 million over five years for seniors’ housing. This includes $270 million for new construction or renovation of seniors’ residences and $291 million toward the Affordable Supportive Living Initiative. The latter funding will underwrite 311 new restorative care spaces for seniors recently discharged from the hospital, along with fire and life-safety upgrades in publicly owned seniors’ housing facilities.