Affordable Housing FAQ

This area provides additional information on Affordable Housing and examples those who may qualify. If you have any questions please contact us.

What is Affordable Housing?

By North American standards, affordable housing is achieved when residents pay no more 30% of their gross income for good quality shelter. Costs include rent and utilities for tenants, or mortgage payments, utilities and property taxes for owners. In addition to not spending more than a set percentage of household income, other tests are typically included to help quality prospective tenants.

Other means of qualifying potential tenants include setting a maximum income of not more than 80% of the median income for a similar household size, and ensuring the household does not have assets above a certain threshold level.

The Housing Trust is concerned about the ability of existing and new households on the Halifax Peninsula to afford good quality rental housing. According to Statistics Canada, in 2006 approximately 22% of renter households in HRM paid more than 50% of their gross income on housing (See: Statistics Canada website).

This not only creates a heavy burden for these households, it also has unanticipated impacts on the local community. For example, as rents increase beyond the ability of a household to pay, renters either move further away from job centres to find less expensive accommodation (which increases pressure on transit and road congestion as they commute to work), or they request higher wages of their employers, which can lead to stagnation in employment growth as employers seek out other cities with a lower cost of living.

While the new Ships Contract is a great boost for the local economy, however it is likely to increase housing prices further as well as increase the cost of construction; these changes will magnify the present affordability issue in the coming decade.

For more information, please visit: Availability & Affordability of Housing in HRM

Examples of People Who Qualify

Who are the Working Poor?

Although there is not a clear definition, some examples may help illustrate the problem:

  • A single mother working full time with a child in daycare
  • A young family where one of the parents is unemployed or underemployed
  • Seniors and semi-retired couples who are working to supplement a nonexistent or fixed income pension.









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