Seniors fear big rent hike as housing authority pushes for 25 per cent increase

Residents of a low-income seniors’ housing complex are waiting with bated breath to find out if they’re rent is going up by 25 per cent.

The Greater Victoria Housing Authority applied to raise the rents at Townley Lodge by the maximum margin possible, or approximately five times the provincial cap.

“We’re working through the residential tenancy process because we want to do it properly,” said Kaye Melliship executive director of the housing authority.

“We’ve promised that and we’ve met with the residents to let them know that,” she said. “That is the standard for every other building that we have.”

For residents at 1780 Townley Rd., located near Shelbourne Street, the percentage increase will not equate to more than 30 per cent of their monthly income – a standard set by the housing society that all of their buildings follow. Resident Robert Colebrook fears it’s more than some of his neighbours will be able to handle.

“These little old ladies in here who are 80-years-old… I don’t see the social justice in that,” Colebrook said, expressing concern over the mental health of seniors facing the increase.

The GVHA would like to see rents rise no more than $70 monthly per unit. Each currently rents for between $280 and $379 in a neighbourhood where rents fall in the $700-900 range.

A hearing on the application, initially scheduled for March 7 has been postponed. A new date has yet to be announced.