• The Low Down

Low seniors housing issue ‘longstanding’

Sincere thank you to The Low Down newspaper for covering this very critical story (“Down and out in Low,” June 2 edition).


No federal minister has responded to our requests to rectify the serious problems of seniors whose applications for subsidized housing are not receivable due to their “partial” guaranteed income supplement. Is the federal government giving them too much money? Are they not still at the poverty line? Are they being discriminated against because they worked to make ends meet and earned a small Québec Pension Plan or other small pension that automatically reduces the supplement?


The problem of seniors affected by these problems is longstanding. The $21,000 maximum allowable income for one person or couple combined is incoherent and works against the mandates of the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Affordable Housing for seniors, which are set by the federal government and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Staff must use the federal criteria to set the annual income levels permitted using only the rental averages, excluding the additional real costs of older houses and the heating, electricity, etc.? This limit of $21,000 extends to all rural municipalities of rural Quebec.


The Societe d’Habitation du Quebec oversees this federal-provincial subsidized housing project in Low. We have had a tremendous working relationship these past 29 years. These joint projects are absolutely necessary and worthy of taxpayer dollars. The barriers must be removed to ensure that all applications for seniors receiving full or partial guaranteed supplement may be receivable for consideration. The very detailed selection criteria established by the Societe d’Habitation du Quebec is just and impartial, and includes all aspects of real needs, in addition to income, health of application, quality of housing, isolation, etc.


It is most sincerely hoped these impediments to adequate and affordable housing for seniors in need will be corrected in the short term. This has been an ongoing battle for over 25 years and more than 12 interventions.


Colette Boisvert Canavan helped found the Paugan Falls Residence board and served as its director general for 25 years.