‘A slap within the face’: Sask. ends backed program with Saskatoon seniors house

The province is ending its subsidy program at Saskatoon’s McClure Place.

McClure Place is an independently-owned complex of 108 apartments for seniors.

Saskatchewan Housing Corporation told CTV News it entered into an agreement with the facility so it could obtain a 35-year mortgage.

But the agreement is coming to an end in 2024, as the mortgage matures.

It means in two years, seniors in 35 units will no longer receive a subsidy from the government.

“These agreements were always designed to sunset with the idea that once the mortgage has been paid in full, the organization will be in a financial position to continue providing affordable rents,” said Sean Burnett, the executive director of program and service design with Saskatchewan Housing Corporation.

Bill VanGorder, the vice-chair of the Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP), said the move is a step backwards.

“Frankly, we’re surprised and a little bit shocked,” VanGorder said.

“This is a slap in the face to people who have given the best of their lives to our country and our province. Being treated this way is going to shock a lot of them.”

McClure Place declined to comment.

CanAge, Canada’s national seniors’ advocacy organization, said the move could end up costing the government more in the long run.

“Subsidized housing is a critically important piece to keep older adults living at home and living well,” said Laura Tamblyn Watts, the founder and CEO of CanAge.

“When we don’t have affordable subsidized housing, people end up either homeless on the streets or they end up in emergency and then eventually into special care homes. So a little investment by the government, to keep people living at home, pays off.”

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