By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government is reducing two of its housing benefits for the second year in a row.
On July 1, low-income renters in private housing who are not on social assistance will see their deductible under the Rent Assist program rise to 30 per cent of their income from 28 per cent.
The change does not extend to people on social assistance.
On Nov. 1, people in government housing also will see their rents increase to 30 per cent of their income from 28 per cent.
The government says the changes will bring Manitoba’s benefits in line with other provinces, but critics say they will increase poverty.
Make Poverty History, a Winnipeg-based advocacy group, says the changes will be an additional challenge for low-income renters who dealt with a similar increase last year.
The Rent Assist program calculates subsidies based on a household’s income and how many people live in the home.
A single person earning $1,400 a month will see the subsidy cut by $15 a month, according to a chart provided by the government Thursday.
A single parent, with one child, who earns $1,500 a month will see the subsidy cut $2 a month.
New Democrat legislature member Rob Altemeyer accused the government Thursday of breaking a promise to protect front-line programs.
Families Minister Scott Fielding said the Progressive Conservative government has helped more low-income renters since taking office in 2016.
While deductibles have risen, the Rent Assist program has been broadened to apply to more people, he said.
“Under our government, more than 2,700 more people than (under) the previous government are supported under the Rent Assist program.”