Ask what affordable housing is, and some will give you a traditional definition.
“To me, affordable housing is where you pay a third of your income for rent, and nothing more, not a penny more,” Linda Carey said.
Carey lives in an HLM. She says it’s almost impossible to find affordable housing.
“There’s nowhere, nowhere, housing in town, and it’s a list, a waiting list,” she said.
Shelby D’Eon wouldn’t call her apartment affordable. The preschool teacher earns a salary of $55,000 and spends $1,500 on rent each month.
“It’s almost eighty percent of my budget,” D’Eon said. ” I did not move. I’ve been staying there for five years because I don’t want to move because everything is even more expensive than that.
With housing demand on the rise and supply still low, many are spending too much on housing. As a result, calls are being made to increase supply.
“For Nova Scotia, we need 50,000 homes by 2030 to meet our affordability goal,” said Kevin Ndoro of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Housing advocates say those on the lowest incomes are often left behind and buildings don’t go up fast enough.
“We should be building social housing on a scale that we invest in highways every year,” said Mark Culligan of Dalhousie Legal Aid.
Affordable housing is an umbrella term. When governments announce they are building new housing, not all of it includes social housing, but housing to support low-income people.
“Trying to actually create non-heavily subsidized housing, as opposed to more affordable housing at 30% of income,” said Jim Graham of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia.
He says social housing groups across Nova Scotia have long waiting lists.
“Check with any housing authority, anywhere in the province right now I think, and they’ll tell you,” Graham said.
Although there are cranes in the skies of the Maritimes region and many apartments are being built, some believe that these units are only for the wealthy.
However, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says increasing supply will increase affordability for everyone.