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CTF Exposes High Income Earners in Social Housing

February 27, 2013
CTF Exposes High Income Earners in Social Housing
  • Tenant earning $112,000 living in subsidized housing
  • Other tenants earning between $47,000 and $83,000
  • CTF calls for audit of Heart River Housing and Alberta Social Housing Corporation

CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released documents obtained through Freedom of Information (FOI) today showing that medium-to-high income earners are using taxpayer-subsidized social housing intended for the poor. The CTF filed the FOI with Heart River Housing (HRH) after an anonymous whistler blower came forward.

The CTF’s documents show that there is currently one tenant with an annual income of over $112,000 living in social housing, one tenant with an income over $82,500, and seven tenants with incomes between $46,800 and $56,000.

“These documents strongly suggest that a system intended to help the poorest in society is being gamed and that some people are allowing it to be gamed,” said CTF Alberta Director Derek Fildebrandt. “We need a full audit of Heart River Housing and the Alberta Social Housing Corporation (ASHC) to determine the extent of this practice, as well as a review of income-cut off levels.”

Income

Move-In Date

Duration

Rent Charge (A)

Bedrooms

$112,320

10-Dec-00

12 years

$725

3

$82,518

01-Dec-06

6 years

$800

4

$56,123

01-Sep-02

10 years

$675

3

$54,720

31-Oct-11

1 year

$750

3

$51,600

01-Sep-02

10 years

$825

5

$49,447

01-Oct-10

2 years

$825

5

$47,397

01-Nov-10

2 years

$675

3

$46,935

01-Oct-04

3 years

$575

3

$46,800

01-Sep-12

less than 1 year

$800

4

(A) Non-electrical utilities included

HRH claims that some of the units that it manages have vacancies that they cannot fill, and so rent the units out to those not in need, such as a tenant earning $112,000 a year in Drewville, who has enjoyed social housing for 12 years.

“Twelve years is a rather long time to be filling a temporary vacancy. If there are units that cannot be filled by the needy, then it should have occurred to Heart River Housing and the ASHC to sell these units,” continued Fildebrandt.

Click here for a backgrounder on real estate in areas operated in by HRH.

Fildebrandt also drew attention to the one tenant with an income over $82,500 and seven tenants with incomes between $46,800 and $56,000 who have lived in their subsidized units for an average of more than five years.

“If you’re making over $47,000 you’re not rich, but you certainly aren’t so poor that you need taxpayer-subsidized housing. Living in subsidized housing for five years isn’t filling a temporary vacancy,” said Fildebrandt. “An income cut-off that can go as high as $89,500 is far too generous for taxpayers to be paying for.”

Heart River housing received $2.5 million in provincial taxpayer funding in 2012 and $11.2 million since 2009.

You can download the full Freedom of Information request here.

You can view a backgrounder on HRH real estate and income cut-off levels here.

By
on March 02, 2013
This is happening everywhere. Time to check the books on people living in social housing, co-op housing and seniors housing. People with hundreds of thousands in the bank collecting little interest could buy an apt, people who take a one bedroom unit and their husband takes another because they met and married there, people with huge pension cheques could afford rent. Social housing is lenient and could be more efficient so there arent so many homeless people living on the streets. The lenient rules of the past no longer apply to present day lets tighten things up. This is not only happening in Alberta.

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By
on April 08, 2014
I agree, my husband and I live in a co-op. We are in B.C. My husband works full time and I'm on a small disability pension. We pay 860.00 $ per month for a small two bedroom suite. We are considered low to moderate income. We drive a car that is 21 years old. We are 63 an 64 years of age. Over the past few years we have noticed many people moving into the co-op who have sold homes in the Victoria area for four to five thousand $. Also bringing with them good paying jobs and huge pensions.Co-ops do not require any type of means test, unlikeB.C.

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By
on April 08, 2014
Sorry I didn't finish previous comment. Just want to add that a means test is not required in BC co-ops,as it is inB.C. housing. I think these weathy people are taking advantage of this type of housing that was intended for poor to moderate income Canadians.

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By
on April 09, 2014
In previous comment I meant to add that the price some of these people are selling their homes for are between four and five hundred thousand dollars. So please let's establish a means test.

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By Sally
on October 17, 2015
This is an on going problem in all cooperative housing. Here in bc a Coop in burnaby is screening prospective members by requesting their income tax assessment to exclude new immigrants. They have also abused the financial resources of the Coop and there is a need for an audit to stop the abuse of the coop money. People who are in need for subsidized social housing can not be accepted and people who sold their homes and have high income are being allowed to move in. There should be a legislation to manage bc social housing and system to certify board members who manage the operation of these cooperative housing. It is a problem that the government has failed to proved low income people . Taxpayer personal information is being breached and OIPC has failed to protect people from the abuse of these cooperative housing board of directors. The only way to bring this issue to light is via social media and have a public conversation that may force the federal and provincial government to take a serious steps in resolving mismanagement of social housing in bc and I suspect all over Canada.

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