It’s not a cash grab. That’s what Social Services Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor has to say about the government reviewing some of the affordable housing units owned through the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation and possibly putting them up for sale.
Beaudry-Mellor explains that the Better Use Policy has been in place since 2003, before the current government was in power.
Each year, the units are reviewed and if there are some with chronic vacancies then there is the possibility they could be sold.
NDP MLAs including Seniors critic Danielle Chartier and party leader Nicole Sarauer travelled to Lemberg Wednesday where 2 buildings are under review.
However, Beaudry-Mellor stresses that a sale agreement would include the stipulation that existing tenants wouldn’t be evicted and the rents would remain the same, at 30 per cent of their income.
More people are moving to larger centres, Beaudry-Mellor says, so there are some chronic vacancies in rural areas.
Each year there is a review and if a housing unit is looked at for sale, then the municipality is contacted to see if they want to buy it.
If not, it could go on the market.
The Minister adds there are a number of examples where these units can be used for a better purpose.
For instance, in Duck Lake, some senior units were sold to the municipality and then they were sold to Habitat For Humanity which renovated them for families working towards home ownership.