alaina harrison- affordable housing coordinator

Carmichael's Aliana Harrison. Photo by John B. Pluck.

by John B. Pluck

The Carmichael Outreach has hired Aliana Harrison to coordinate the centre’s new affordable housing search program.

Shawn Fraser, executive director of the centre, said most people who utilize the services of the Carmichael Outreach have difficulties finding or maintaining affordable housing in the city.

Creating a program that caters to that need seemed the most natural thing to do, said Fraser.

Given the low vacancy rate, people contact the centre on a daily basis, said Harrison.

“Help(ing) people get into a housing situation where they can remain for some time” is the aim of the program, she said.

Harrison said that generally she starts the housing search process by interviewing the client to get a sense of what type of accommodations they can afford. Most clients are looking for property under $600 per month she said. She then starts an online search using the housing registry services of the Welfare Rights Centre. Clients receive a list of properties to help with their search.

In a 2010 spring rental market survey, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported that rent increased in Regina by 7.1 per cent.

Eunice Big Eagle used the affordable housing program because her rent was being increased from $600 to $800 per month. But even with the list, she could not find an affordable home. Still, she thinks it is an “excellent” program.

It’s a headache going through the Internet search for affordable housing, according to Big Eagle.

“Alaina is so helpful; You feel comfortable and she gets everything ready for you,” said Big Eagle.

Harrison said the long term goal of the Carmichael is to keep the affordable housing program as long as it is possible. She said with the Welfare Rights Centre ending its housing registry services this month there will be a greater need for assistance with affordable housing.

Carmichael’s program is funded by a YMCA Youth Eco Internship grant. The program funding will come to an end next month if additional funding cannot be obtaine, Fraser said.