About 150 people could face eviction if necessary repairs to an affordable housing cooperative are not completed.
The Spruce Woods Housing Co-op needs about $2 million in repairs — but could end up causing residents to lose their homes.
Eva Cameron, who lives and manages Spruce Woods in Brandon, about 130 miles west of Winnipeg, Canada, said money is urgently needed to complete the repairs.
The residential complex has 81 affordable housing units for 150 people.
Rent currently ranges from $610 per month for a one-bedroom apartment to $823 per month for a three-bedroom townhouse CBC.
Cameron fears that rental prices will have to rise if government funding does not cover the costs.
“If the buildings are falling apart, if we have to mortgage and finance, we’re going to have to put that burden on our members, which means it’s going to be very difficult to stay affordable,” Cameron told CBC.
“Where are the people going to?”
Noreen Mitchell, president of the co-op, said of a possible rent increase: “I don’t want to … knock on their door and tell them they can’t live here.”
Many of Spruce Woods’ residents are on fixed incomes or working minimum wage, Mitchell said.
Meanwhile, Cameron estimated $2 million has already been spent on necessary repairs, including a roof repair.
These repairs took place between October 2021 and June 2023, according to CBC.
One repair that still needs to be completed is the stucco on the co-op’s exterior walls.
These walls prevent water damage and could make some units uninhabitable if not repaired soon.
The cooperative has asked the government for support to keep costs down.
In the meantime, Cameron hopes the co-op can keep rental rates low over the next year or two.
Spruce Woods is working with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – the federal housing authority – and has met with both the Province of Manitoba and the City of Brandon to find a solution.
The US Sun has reached out to Spruce Woods for comment.