Public housing in Nova Scotia is poorly monitored: AG Pi News

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The Auditor General of Nova Scotia has discovered cracks in the basement of public housing in the province.

6,000 families are on the waiting list for one of Nova Scotia’s 11,200 public housing units, but a new report released Tuesday found that 1,500 of those homes are underutilized.

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Auditor General Kim Adair concluded in his report that Nova Scotia lacked an effective administrative structure for public housing and failed to provide adequate oversight by regional housing authorities throughout the province.

Adair reported that regional housing authorities were not adequately monitoring the continuing eligibility for public housing, resulting in tenants living in units larger than they needed, while families were on the waiting list.

Although the average waiting time is about two years, some applicants may wait longer.

“It is important that qualified Nova Scotians be provided with fair, consistent and timely access to public housing, which ensures that existing public housing units are used to their maximum potential,” Ader said.

Adair urges the province to take immediate action and has made 20 recommendations, including the implementation of an effective administrative framework, the creation of a fair and consistent public housing application process, and the creation of an accurate waiting list ranking system.

The Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing said it agrees with the recommendations and is actively working towards resolutions.

“As a government, we owe it to all Nova Scots to ensure that our public housing is effectively managed,” John Lohr, Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing, said in a statement.

“I know problems do not develop overnight and there is a lot to improve. We are taking immediate action to make things better.”

Lohr said the province has come up with a standardized application process and is taking steps to reduce the waiting list and reduce the return time.

“Part of the response involved creating a new company to provide independent oversight,” Lore said. “The company will be responsible and focus only on improving public housing.”

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