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Time for Griffiths to take responsibility over social housing debacle: Wilson

CALGARY, AB (June 11, 2013): Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths needs to get a grip on repeated abuses occurring within subsidized social housing units and local authorities across the province, Wildrose Human Services Critic Jeff Wilson said today.

 A freedom of information request (FOIP) by the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation revealed 1,208 tenants making between $50,000 to $172,000 living in housing subsidized by the Calgary Housing Company. In February, it was uncovered that Heart River Housing in High Prairie was allowing one tenant who makes $112,000 a year to live in their subsidized housing units.  At the time, Griffiths ruled out a provincial audit and directed housing companies to look at the way they operate internally so “we can fix this.” “There are many deserving Albertans who are struggling to access social housing, yet this repeated abuse in the system continues to go unchecked,” Wilson said.  “Socialized housing is designed to provide relief for Albertans who have hit hard times, not to pad the pockets of those making medium to high incomes.” Wilson said that it’s necessary to uncover other abuses throughout the system, make them public, conduct a review of income thresholds required to qualify for social housing and look at changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that is handcuffing agencies from removing tenants who are abusing the system. “The PC government had a choice this past session to get to work and fix this problem that is beginning to look widespread, but instead they shut the doors on debate so they could get an early start to their summer vacation,” Wilson said.  “This is nothing short of mismanagement from a tired and out of touch 41 year old PC government.”