Kapyong houses still empty - Right to Housing wants to know why

Media Release - For Immediate Release

Families homeless; Kapyong houses still empty — Right to Housing wants to know why.

Winnipeg, MB November 18, 2009-

Right to Housing Coalition will hold informational pickets to draw attention to the more than 100 empty Kapyong houses that have remained empty for the past five years, while being maintained at a total cost of $7.5 million to taxpayers.

* One picket will take place at the former Kapyong Barracks site, corner of Kenaston and Corydon at 3:30 on Friday, November 20th.

* A second informational picket will be held in Steinbach at 1pm on Friday, November 20th, and will involve a visit to the office of Vic Toews, MP, Provencher, to ask him why he has refused to respond to the Coalition’s ongoing requests to address this issue. (See Chronology)

The Coalition wants taxpayers to know that, while the Canadian Forces housing remains empty, the houses continue to be heated and maintained, at a cost of about $1.5 million per year (based on heat, upkeep, security and lost rent).  The cost of losing them due to deterioration could be over $15 million.

At the same time taxpayers are paying to heat these empty houses, there is a critical shortage of low-cost housing for families in the city.

This situation has been brought to the attention of Minister Toews on a number of occasions. Minister Toews, President of the Treasury Board and senior minister in the federal government from Manitoba, has been asked to meet to discuss the Coalition’s proposal to allow a number of the empty houses to be used as transitional housing for eligible families. All the federal government has to do to provide a letter directing the empty houses be rented.

The Province of Manitoba has agreed to provide rent subsidies under existing provincial housing programs as soon as the houses become available.

Right to Housing is a Winnipeg-based coalition that brings together 36 organizations and over 120 individuals to address the chronic need for social housing.

For more information, please contact:

Ellen Kruger, Right to Housing Coalition

Ph:  204-774-5080

www.righttohousing.ca

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