am a person with a legitimate disability on assistance, although before you assume I'm a "welfare bum," please know that I work part-time as much as I physically can to supplement my very modest income. I am disgusted with trying to find a reasonable rental apartment in HRM. I'm looking for a simple one-bedroom apartment and I cannot find one for under $750. This is ridiculous.
Assistance only allows $535 for rent and landlords know this. They assume everyone on assistance is a bum who isn't worthy of having a home. They price all their units hundreds above that amount to ensure they will get working tenants. This is discrimination and not fair. Do you think most people on assistance choose to be? They do not. It is not an easy life living on a pittance.
I am doing everything I can do get out of the apartment I'm in now, which is infested with black mold. The place before this was 700 bucks a month and had bed bugs. I had to throw out all my furniture and lost everything! The landlord does nothing when I call for repairs, doesn't show up. But raises the rent each time I call. So that's why I stopped calling him to fix things (no one shows up anyway). I am feeling totally hopeless in this situation and am wondering if I will end up sleeping under an overpass in a sleeping bag.
I have tried to go on the wait list for Metro Housing, but you have to have a zero balance on your power bill first. My power bill WAS up to 500 bucks, but since I have been working part-time, I have gotten it down to 155 dollars owing. So I have to wait longer in this horrible unsafe place with mold until I can be placed on a wait list for an affordable apartment with Housing. I am a little reluctant to go to the only building that Housing has in my neighbourhood that allows people my age into the building (not seniors), because it had bad pipes and the tenants got Legionnaires' disease from living there. Also there is a known pyromaniac in the building who was never evicted, yet continues to set fires inside the building repeatedly.
HRM needs rent control. There needs to be more affordable housing, and landlords and rental companies need to STOP discriminating against people who need social services. We all need a roof over our heads. I am doing the best I can and I always pay my rent on time. I have never defaulted on my rent. I am clean and quiet. I have good references but bad credit due to my circumstances of trying to survive day to day in a world where the cost of living is more than what I am allotted by welfare. Please increase the housing allowance for welfare recipients and please start a rent control program—I know I am not the only one who is in this hopeless situation! I hope the municipal politicians read this and make changes. PLEASE HELP!
—Chronic Bronchitis—Now I Know Why