Reverse Cuts to Rent Assist and RGI Housing

Dear Supporter,

Earlier this month, we told you about a change in the Rent Assist program that would affect over 7,000 low-income households, reducing benefits by up to $100 month in some cases. We have also learned that thousands of households in subsidized rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing will be subject to higher rents. Both these changes will go into effect on July 1. There is little time to act.

We are asking you to help us reverse this cut in Rent Assist and the rent increases for RGI housing. Please send the attached letter to Premier Brian Pallister, adapting it as needed.

Letters can be sent to

premier@leg.gov.mb.ca
cc:
minfs@leg.gov.mb.ca; minedu@leg.gov.mb.ca; minfin@leg.gov.mb.ca

or Phone: (204) 945-3714

And/or sign our Change.org petition

June 23, 2017

The Honourable Brian Pallister, M.L.A.
Premier of Manitoba
204-450 Broadway
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0V8

Dear Mr. Pallister:

I am writing ON BEHALF OF INSERT YOUR ORGANIZATION to urge you to cancel the planned changes to Rent Assist and to Rent-Geared-To-Income (RGI) rates.

OPTIONAL: INSERT A SHORT PARAGRAPH EXPLAINING WHY YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE PLANNED CHANGES TO RENT ASSIST AND TO RGI RATES

Rent Assist and RGI housing have played a critical role in the lives of low-income Manitobans, making it easier to access the kind of stability in housing that is needed to pursue a high quality of life.

Changes announced this month to Rent Assist will reduce benefits by up to $100 per month for families and individuals living below the poverty line. The RGI changes will increase rents by up to $60 per month. These changes will go into effect on July 1, 2017, giving households little time to plan or adapt their budgets.

Reducing Rent Assist benefits and increasing RGI rates for people who are not on EIA increases the welfare wall, making it more difficult for Manitobans on EIA to successfully transition into training and employment. Furthermore, it exacerbates the hardships faced by working individuals and families who are already struggling to pay rent and put food on the table as a result of living on income levels below the poverty line.

INSERT YOUR ORGANIZATION IF IT ENDORSED MPHM’S RENTAL ALLOWANCE CAMPAIGN) was one of more than 145 organizations that endorsed Make Poverty History Manitoba’s (MPHM) campaign that led to the introduction of Rent Assist.

I WAS/WE WERE surprised to learn of your government’s decision to implement the planned changes to Rent Assist given that the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba first supported MPHM’s campaign back in 2013 and continued to reference the role of Rent Assist as part of your government’s efforts to assist low-income Manitobans living in private rental housing. Your early support was vital in getting this program implemented.

In the past, you eloquently expressed your pride in supporting Make Poverty History Manitoba’s campaign for Rent Assist. You described how Rent Assist increases were long overdue, as skyrocketing rents disproportionately hit low-income families.  It continues to be true, as you wrote in 2015, that “children cannot be healthy, happy, and safe without a proper home.” The changes to Rent Assist and RGI announced this month will put affordable, quality housing further out of reach for low-income Manitoba children and their families. WE/I urge you to go back to your earlier position supporting adequate Rent Assist for all low-income households.

Please do not burden Manitoba’s most vulnerable citizens with the steps your government is taking to balance the budget and revoke the planned changes to Rent Assist and RGI rates.

Yours sincerely,

(INSERT SIGNATURE)

cc

The Honourable Scott Fielding, M.L.A., Minister of Families
The Honourable Cameron Friesen, M.L.A., Minister of Finance
The Honourable Ian Wishart, M.L.A., Minister of Education and Training and Chair of the All Aboard Committee

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