N.W.T. renews and revamps rent program to aid residents during COVID-19

The Northwest Territories is extending and revamping a rent supplement program for residents in private dwellings to try and help them cover any shortfalls due to loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, Paulie Chinna, announced changes to the Transitional Rent Supplement Program in a news release on Thursday.

The program was set to end March 31 but has now been extended by five months to Aug. 31.

The changes look to make it easier for people renting in the private market to apply for a minimum of $100 to a maximum of $500 a month.

“If eligible, a rental payment will be provided to landlords on behalf of the approved applicant,” read an email from the territory’s press secretary, who added the government is setting aside $200,000 for the program.

There is no requirement for applicants to take a financial counselling course and residents do not need to be arrears-free to be eligible, according to the release. Previous participants in the program are also eligible. 

Residents can apply on the housing corporation’s website or phone 1-844-698-4663 for more information.

“There are families that are struggling to pay their rent. They may not be working or may be working less,” Chinna wrote in the release. 

“The Transitional Rent Supplement Program is [a] good resource for families struggling to keep current with their rent payments. We need to continue to take steps to support vulnerable residents maintain housing stability.”

The release said the territory’s housing corporation is also working with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to develop a rental support program, which is scheduled to be available in September 2020.

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