January 31, 2018

"Falling off the Ladder"~when Seniors' Pensions can't pay for Rent

As reported in the Richmond News seniors who receive Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan benefits of  $586 and $866 a month respectively are still unable to pay the cost of a bachelor apartment rental in Richmond.The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation statistics show that in 10 years a one bedroom rental unit in Richmond has risen 44 per cent to $1,185 a month.
Few people who have worked all their lives come forward to say they are living below the poverty line. But Judy Lyk, a retired social worker has. A single mother of three was unable to save for retirement and also had financial problems that led to a bankruptcy.  The lack of affordable adequate housing is what Richmond’s  Chimo Community Services calls a “significant contributor to domestic crisis situations.” Ms Lyk was found living in a community shelter and represents the expanding realm of homelessness. One of the first occupants of a 129 unit subsidized rental building, Ms. Lyk is left with $250 a month for food and sundries as the rent even with a subsidy for the small bachelor apartment is $880.
Diane Sugars the executive director of Chimo community services observes “People have this idea of a person with addiction, or a man sitting in a doorway. It’s not that; it’s changed. It’s seniors, yes, but it’s also families who are faced with the inability to meet their rent. If they’re evicted, they struggle to find a place with affordable rent.” While an additional 130 subsidized units have been built annually in Richmond, more subsidized rental units are needed especially for families and seniors who “fall off the ladder” in a tight housing market.


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