New Brunswick’s minister responsible for housing announced that the province’s rent bank will begin earlier than initially planned.
The program will open to applications on Dec. 13 and will provide grants to people who experience an unexpected financial hardship.
“It’s for unexpected things that happen to low to moderate income individuals so they can get past that hump and aren’t at risk of losing their housing,” she said.
Individual applicants must have a household income under $50,500, while families must be earning under $85,000. The program is funded with $3 million over two years and will provide grants of up to $2,750.
2:02 New Brunswick government to introduce a ‘rent bank’ as part of housing strategy
Green said that the province decided to switch the program to grants recently.
“We’ve heard very strongly from our partners how important it was that it was a grant for individuals when they’re applying,” she said.
The program was applauded by Green housing critic Megan Mitton, but said that the province needs to put more focus on ensuring that housing is affordable to begin with. She said that the amount of housing that is considered affordable has been eroding for years and that a rent cap could be a way to help ensure that less people find themselves in a situation where they can’t cover their rent.
“We have an affordable housing crisis, we need to do everything possible, all the tools in the toolbox to address it,” she said.
Liberal leader Susan Holt has doubts over the amount of initial funding allocated to the program. If everyone were to receive the full amount that would cover just over 1,000 households.
“We see more and more people on the waiting list for NB housing, we see more and more people homeless, we see more and more people experiencing challenges paying rent, we see inflation rates going up,” she said.
Green said that should the need be greater than the province expected she will ensure that the program receives more money.