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Bayers Westwood Housing

Residents concerned about homes after housing authority blunder

By KATIE INGRAM

Earlier this week, residents at a Metro Regional Housing Authority development in the Bayers Westwood area were concerned they’d have to move out of their homes.

Over 80 residents of Federal/Romans Avenue development, which is made up of about 350 units, received a letter from the housing authority. The letter states that some units are 4-bedroom units and tenants who occupy those units are “over-housed.” Tenants were told they’d be moved to another unit, based on their “household size, when one becomes available,” as the housing authority has a wait-list for family-style housing and “have a responsibility to assist them.” They would also not be guaranteed a unit in the area they currently reside.

Bernice Milton, 64, who’s lived on Federal Avenue for 39 years, was one of the concerned residents. She says that she and others were surprised and shocked when they received their letters.

“I cried for three days and was throwing up; I didn’t eat anything until yesterday,” she says. “This is very, very hard.”

Many residents don’t have other places to go or have disabilities and medical issues that prevent them from moving into smaller units.

“I was brought in here 39 years ago with medical conditions, which I still have,” she says. “I can’t be confined to an apartment or anything like that.”

Others have more serious medical conditions to worry about and the letter has caused issues. Milton says that one resident has cancer and hearing the news affected her health.

“She was so upset she ended up in the hospital and she’s still there,” says Milton.

The Department of Community Services received the letter on Feb. 24, days after tenants were given their notices. Acting Community Services Minister, Kelly Regan says that the letter was not approved by the department or the Minister, so they put a stop to the process.

“This is not an acceptable approach to dealing with people who live in affordable housing communities,” says Regan. “We don’t treat tenants this way, so we’ve instructed staff to reach out to every single person who received a letter to ensure them we’re not moving forward and they do not have to move.”

Regan adds Community Services always tries to keep in touch with tenants to make sure their housing needs are met.

Before community services received the letter, many residents attempted to contact the Housing Authority to better understand the organization’s request and have their questions answered. However, their questions were ignored.

“They hummed and hawed; what we’re got from them is that ‘we don’t care,’” says Milton. “There’s no need of this and there needs to someone that can stand behind us; it’s not right.”

Community Services is looking into the issue. Regan says they will try to find out what happened and why the letter was allowed to be sent out.

“We have to understand exactly what happened before we can deal with it,” she says. “This is not the way the process is supposed to work.”

About Katie Ingram

Katie Ingram is a Halifax-based, freelance journalist. Along with Haligonia, her work has been featured in a number of publications including Halifax Magazine, Atlantic Books Today, the South Shore Breaker, The Coast, J-Source, Dakai Maritimes, Quill and Quire, the Queens County Advance, the Halifax Media Co-op and on CBC Radio.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.

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11 comments

  1. I totally agree with this.. yes when children are growen or no longer reside in the home the adults should be moved to a smaller unit to allow for people with children the housing needs they require. Housing is to help during situations not to be a long term place for the rest of any one’s life ..

    • Housing is a long term situation and if you had the chance to use it you wouldn’t think twice about it. Are you going to give me the money I would loose in all my belongings I would have to throw out ? Are you going to pay for all my Utilities to be switched over , for a moving company to pack and move me. To have special needs companies to have to remove and reinstall any spical equipment I have in my home. If you are then ok you have a right to make a comment if your not then shut your pie hole and mind your own business. I have every right to live in housing I work and pay taxes. Problems more then you pay.

  2. The residents are going to be replaced in smaller units geared to their income. I don’t see why there is such a fuss as they arnt being kicked out on the street, that would be a very important issue, but isn’t the case here. These homes were set as a short term place to house families during the war times and until families can get on their feet, not ment for long term situations. A lot of residents who reside in these homes that are run by the government become to feel as if they them selves own them as they lived in them for so long, but that’s not the case. Once children are growen or removed from the care of their parents.. it’s time for to step down to a smaller unit.. why should a older couple take up homes that people with small children need, common people wake up they arnt being thrown out just moved..

    • You’re not the one who has to move Camilla . have a heart Moving is stressful , they have more than paid for their place DON”T KICK THEM OUT

    • I agree. Other families may need the bigger unit. The government can’t afford to build social housing that doesn’t meet what that person’s actual needs are. Unfortunately costs do matter.

  3. Get over it . If your living in a a space that could be used for a family in need . Move on to an old age building . A single person DOES NOT need to take up a 4 bedroom unit

    • I totally agree….some of those UNITS ARE NEEDED FOR FAMILIES THAT ARE IN NEED …IF YOU ARE OVER HOUSE I THINK IT IS ONLY FAIR….FOR SOME ONE ON THE WAITING LIST TO BE ACCOMODATED…..I DON’T AGREE ON THE LETTER BEING SENT ….BUT REALLY. ..I KNOW FAMILIES THAT NEED THESE SPOTS…SO THOSE THAT ARE COMPLAINING SHOULD BE GLAD THAT THEY CAN BE PLACED ELSE WHERE

  4. They already do reassess those housed every year, the residents know it’s coming, and that they may be moved to larger or smaller housing based on need. The issue here is how the notices were sent out without warning, not that it was something never before heard of for the housing authority to do. Put the pitchforks away.

  5. I live in housing and id have to agree houses that have smaller amounts of ppl in them than when they moved in should be adjusted to fit the amount of ppl living there just like when family’s in housing who have another kid get bumbed to the top of the list for houses that fit their size witch opens up room for ppl in their old place and if u have med reasons for needing the extra rooms than that would be extenuating circumstances. But just like familys who r geting bigger they shouldnt be kicked out of their places till a suitable place is available. But that’s just my opinion.

  6. Don’t forget all housing comes with a small friend. Housing told my inlaws that no government housing is without bedbugs. There bad everywhere and some Apartments (15 mandaville court) try and force the treatments on the tenants. 700 treatments on people living on income assistance. The act says it’s the responsibility of the owner. I called the tenancy office and they stated that no tenant pays for treatment to their apartment.

  7. Paul, you say you work why are in housing? You should be taking care of yourself.

    I would like two know what medical reason causes a single or couple to need a four bedroom house.

    Housing is suppose to be a temporary solution. 39 years is not temporary.

    Sure moving sucks and is never fun. It is however a part of life and you deal with it.

    I have a right to voice my opinion as I pay for a portion of your housing.

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