Critic Roles

Housing

The Ministry of Social Services is responsible for overseeing housing for low-income people and runs the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation. During her time as critic for housing, Meara enearthed the over 3,000 empty social housing units that are sitting empty and unused across the province. The Sask NDP opposition predicts these empty units represent over 600 Million in wasted taxes, utilities and foregone rents. In Regina alone, for example, 1 in 4 units sit empty, while homelessness is on the rise and many people struggling to find affordable housing.

Just last year, the Ministry partnered with the federal government on a national housing strategy. Despite the fanfare that was made of this partnership, the subsidy isn’t available to those in greatest housing needs, or anyone receiving assistance. Qualification is extremely narrow and the program has been undersubscribed, even though the Sask Party government promised it would replace an important and much-needed rental supplement it cut.

Shelters are regularly over capacity in Saskatchewan, tent cities are now a common reality, and the calls for the Sask Party government to reform the funding model for shelters have not been heard. Meanwhile, the changes to housing brought about the Sask Party government have led to more reliance on hotels. Meara’s recent discovery that a Sask Party MLA-owned hotel was charging inflated rates when the Ministry of Social Services was picking up the tab suggest members of the Sask Party government may actually be profiting off failed housing policies, and growing homelessness.