↗ The Advisory Council is pleased there has (finally) been a significant infusion of funding into affordable housing in PEI. This funding was urgently needed. Through provincial and federal funding programs in 2009/2010, the Province spent over $4.1 million on creation and renovation of new and existing social and affordable housing, and an additional $8.5 million spending is to come in the next two years.
↗ The Disability Action Council is helping to integrate disability analysis into decision-making and is advancing recommendations to construct accessible housing units. And, indeed, housing initiatives are responding to some diversity priorities, with 50 new units for people with disabilities, 25 new units for seniors, and 32 new family units, four of which are accessible.
↗ In 2011-2012, 14 new units for people with disabilities and 90 new units for seniors will be built; however, only 25% of new units for seniors will be accessible.
→ The Advisory Council identifies seniors’ housing as one aspect of a larger concern: the income of seniors. Many seniors still cannot manage “affordable” rates for rent because of lack of income. The Atlantic Seniors Housing Research Alliance found that more than 40% of PEI seniors are said to be in core housing need, spending more than 30% of their income for up-to-standard housing, and seniors are more likely than other Islanders to be in core housing need. Women are more affected than men because more women have lower incomes (including smaller pensions), they are less likely to own their own homes, and a larger percentage are renters.
→ When about 65% of households that receive social services support include a person with a disability, it is clear that income is a major issue for people with disabilities as well, and this has an impact on housing. Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that there are young people with intellectual disabilities still living in long-term care facilities, and it’s still hard to get the support people need to live more independently.
↘ While the number of affordable housing units has been growing, the 2010 PEI Report on Homelessness also shows growth in the waiting lists for both family and seniors’ housing. This report shows that 272 people on PEI were homeless and stayed in an emergency shelter in 2010. Of them, 135 (50%) were women. Women in PEI: A Statistical Review says that in 38.9% of PEI households, a woman is the person who pays the bills for the home (the “primary house- hold maintainer”). More than a quarter of these women are seniors, aged 65 or older.
Investment in affordable, accessible, appropriate housing, including housing designed to meet the needs of seniors and persons with disabilities: B
This is an excerpt from the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women 2011 Equality Report Card for PEI, released in June 2011 and based on information updated to May 30, 2011. The Advisory Council is republishing one area of assessment each week on this blog. For more information, visit the Advisory Council on the Status of Women website.