Posted May 12, 2020
Nova Scotia ACORN and the New Democratic Party are calling on the provincial government to expand the three-month eviction ban announced March 19 and to freeze all rental increases during the state of emergency.
The provincial state of emergency, declared on March 22 under the Emergency Management Act, has been extended until this coming Sunday.
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is an independent national organization of low- and moderate-income families with 130,000 members across the country.
“We’re in a state of emergency and the provincial government has done nothing to ensure tenants can keep a roof over their heads,” Krista Perry, a Halifax tenant and ACORN member, said in a news release.
“My daughter and I are about to be out of a home in the middle of a pandemic and they are not doing anything to stop it.”
Perry said she was having financial difficulties before the pandemic and she’s facing eviction if the ban isn’t expanded to include non-COVID related cases.
The measures announced March 19 by the Stephen McNeil government were introduced as help to the vulnerable and to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the province. Among the measures was a provision stating “no tenant can be evicted because their income has been impacted by COVID-19, effective immediately for the next three months.”
A provincial spokesman later confirmed that the eviction ban would apply only to rental arrears related to COVID-19.
ACORN’s recently released State of Renters During COVID-19 report found that 35 per cent of respondents couldn’t pay rent on May 1 and 15 per cent have been threatened with eviction.
At the same time, rents in Nova Scotia continue to skyrocket and Nova Scotia’s jobless rate increased to 12 per cent in April with thousands more workers facing reduced hours and lower incomes.
As the public health restrictions continue, to control the spread of COVID-19, tenants are increasingly worried about unregulated rent increases and eviction notices that could force people out of their homes, ACORN says.
“You can’t stay home if you don’t have a home to stay in,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “As we move deeper into the second month of the state of emergency in Nova Scotia, the government must reconsider its position and expand the eviction ban to include all tenants, and block all rent increases during this time.”
ACORN members across the province will continue to push the Liberal government to take action to protect tenants during this crisis with a phone-in to the premier on Tuesday.
Article by Francis Campbell for the Chronicle Herald