NS AG criticizes the cumbersome management of the social housing program

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HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s auditor general says there were more than 6,000 applicants on the waiting list for the province’s 11,000 public housing units at the end of last year.

In a report released on Tuesday, Kim Adair said there is an average wait time of about two years, but some applicants are waiting much longer, depending on the location and size of housing required.

Ms Adair’s audit found that regional housing authorities are not effectively managing tenant application and placement processes, and are not adequately monitoring continued eligibility for public housing.

As a result, tenants are living in larger units than necessary while families remain on the waiting list, concludes the auditor general.

According to Ms. Adair, the administration of the program estimates that more than 1,500 units are thus underutilized, and that it takes more than double the 60-day target to place new tenants in the vacated units.

It makes 20 recommendations, including putting in place an effective governance structure, to create a fair and consistent public housing application process. She also recommends creating an accurate ranking system for waiting lists.

The audit also reveals that the current housing system makes little use of stakeholder accountability, due to missing or outdated management agreements, while there are no business plans or requirements in place. matter of reports.

The auditor says that in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the provincial government spent just over $54 million on its five regional housing authorities, about a third of the operating costs of $153 million.

Rents from tenants covered $67 million and the remaining $31 million was shared between the federal government and municipal governments.

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