KINDNESS BAY, N.S. — A couple in their 30s is celebrating their first year together, but they’re not quite sure where to start.
They’re trying to figure out how to open their new home.
The couple, a single father and a gay man, are planning to share a house with two other gay couples.
The new house is being planned on the same site as the old home they grew up on.
“It’s not like we have a new house or anything,” said the man, whose name is not being used.
“We’re trying not to get too attached to that one.”
A few days after the birth of their son, they received a letter from the federal government offering $1,000 in grants for their home renovation project.
The money will go toward repairs to the home and renovations to the surrounding property.
They said they are expecting a Christmas card from the government next week, and have already started collecting money for the renovations.
“The whole house is going to be new, and it’s going to have a lot of windows,” said their friend, who asked not to be identified because of the project.
“There’s going be a lot going on.”
He said he was expecting to get another letter from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) to give them an idea of how much they could expect to be able to get for the renovation, but the bank had no comment.
The same day they received the money, a woman who asked to be called Sarah found a post on the site that was filled with photos of the couple, their new house and their new pets.
She said the couple has been struggling financially and have struggled with housing and food insecurity.
Sarah said the money would go toward new furnishings and the new kitchen and bathroom.
“They’re looking for money for things that aren’t coming in,” she said.
“If we can help them, we’re all in.”
They plan to move into a new home and will need to apply for a new rental agreement in the spring.
The couples are also looking for help to help pay the bills and make the mortgage payments.
“I’m going to ask my husband for some money to make sure he can take care of his dog,” Sarah said.
The government funding could help, she said, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
“How much money do we have to get a mortgage?”
Sarah said they need to work on making sure their kids have good access to good schools.
“This is going out to kids in a really vulnerable situation,” she added.
“My kids need to be out of the house, out of school.”
The government has a good idea what they’re up against, said the government’s chief economist, Mark Zandi.
“CMHC has been working with this government on this issue and has been very supportive,” Zandi said.
But he also noted the government has been criticized for not taking a more aggressive approach in making sure it has the funds it needs.
“People are really struggling, and they need some help to get out of that,” Zane said.
A recent survey of people living in homelessness found that while the percentage of people who have lived on the street for more than two years jumped from 4.9 per cent in 2014 to 7.3 per cent last year, the percentage who have been homeless for longer fell from 20.4 per cent to 14.1 per cent.
The survey found that the homeless population has grown in Ontario from 1.5 million in 2013 to 2.5 per cent of the total population in 2014, while the number of people in shelters and transitional housing has risen from 1,846 in 2014 into more than 1,700 in 2015.
Zandi, who is also the deputy chair of the federal Liberal Party, said it’s a shame that a few years ago, the government took a more inclusive approach and made a commitment to provide housing for the homeless.
“Our commitment to this issue has never been as high as it is today,” he said.
Zadi said he hopes the new government will take that approach.
“In the meantime, we need to support them to make the transition to a new place and hopefully they’ll find jobs in a good sector and maybe be able make some money,” he added.
The NDP is also proposing a motion to provide a grant to cover some of the cost of the renovations and the house.
“A lot of people have struggled and been homeless, and this is something that’s really important,” NDP MP Niki Ashton said.
She is introducing a motion, sponsored by NDP MP Adam Vaughan, that would require CMHC to provide $300,000 to the new home owners.
Ashton said she also wants to know if the new owners can provide the couple with a place to live with a minimum two-bedroom unit. “Are