Affordable housing crisis leaves families in despair

By Jessica Brown, Global News July 26, 2013 - SASKATOON – As rental prices in Saskatoon continue to climb many families are being forced to share accommodation, sometimes two or three families crowding into tiny one- and two-bedroom apartments. Social workers say it’s a problem the city is seeing more and more of and it’s some of the youngest and most innocent families being impacted by the lack of affordable housing.

Executive Director of the Friendship Inn, Lynda Brazeau, says families are at crisis point with the lack of affordable housing.

“We have families that are moving together and you might have a grandma looking after several children, a daughter with her four kids and nobody working and all crowded into little tiny apartments,” said Brazeau.

She says the problem is getting worse.

In the last year, the Friendship Inn has seen numbers increase from 200 visitors a day to 1000.

Over the past five years in Saskatoon rental prices have gone up 59 per cent but weekly incomes just haven’t kept up, rising only 26 per cent over the same period.

The average price of a two-bedroom rental in the city is now more than $1,000.

While the city of Saskatoon has a plan to create more affordable housing, more needs to be done.

“Three thousand fewer units are available now than there was around 5 to 10 years ago,” said Shaun Dyck from the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership.

“There has to be more investment in social housing, like rent geared to income, without significant investment in rental and purpose built rental the problem will not slow down,” he added.

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