Rent freeze extended
Rent subsidies, income support to be integrated

Fact File
Income thresholds for rental subsidies
Clyde River $58,500
Arviat $59,004
Tuktoyaktuk $58,500
Holman $55,500

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 02/98) - The 5,800 households in the NWT that rely on rental subsidies are safe, at least until division.

The territorial government announced rent on subsidized units will remain unchanged at least until division. The rent freeze was an extension of one that began last April.

Both freezes were the result of the government's plans to integrate its rental subsidy and income-support programs.

That, said NWT Housing Corporation director of policy Gary McLellan, is expected to take at least another eight or nine months.

"The work, to be jointly done by the NWT Housing Corporation and the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, will set a framework for future social program implementation for the two new governments in 1999," said deputy premier Goo Arlooktoo in announcing the extension of the moratorium.

Rental subsidies are calculated on an international standard that says people can afford to pay no more than 30 per cent of their income for shelter.

In the South establishing an income threshold for a community simply involves calculating the average rent.

For the vast majority of Northern communities it's a little more difficult, since few have rental markets.

To get around it, the Housing Corporation uses a formula that accounts for construction, heat, mortgage, power and other operational costs to establish an income threshold has been established for each community in the North.

All those above the threshold are not eligible for rent subsidies. Those below it will pay only a maximum of 30 per cent of their income toward rent. The territorial and federal governments pay the rest.

Administration of rental units is done by the local housing organizations.

Last year the Housing Corporation provided $81.4 million to housing organizations for the operation of rental units. Three quarters of that was paid by the federal government.