What are Riverside Estates and Appleseed Court?
Riverside Estates and Appleseed Court are unique volunteer-led initiatives to address the lack of affordable housing in the town and county of Antigonish. They are innovative models for housing in small, rural communities which combine the resources of government, local municipalities and local supporters to create low-cost housing that is energy-efficient, and provides tenants with a chance to reduce their heating costs, grow their own food in community gardens, and together build a strong neighbourhood.
Why are Riverside Estates and Appleseed Court needed?
Families and individuals living on modest means deserve safe, good quality housing they can afford, but finding that housing has long been a major challenge for these community members. No new public housing apartments have built in the Antigonish area since 1996. According to the Eastern Mainland Housing Authority, as of August 2016, the waiting list for housing in the town and county stands at 247, which includes single mothers and their children, seniors and people living with disabilities. The competition for low-cost housing between university students and people living on low incomes means those who are most vulnerable end up in precarious living situations which are often unsafe and/or poorly located with no security of tenure.
Does affordable housing really make a difference?
Research shows that when there is affordable housing families can save money to meet important needs and/or plan for the future. They can free up resources for better quality food and other basic needs. Secure housing promotes increased mental and physical health and gives residents a sense of independence, identity and pride. It improves educational outcomes for youth and has a positive effect on surrounding property values when it is well-designed and maintained.
Will the apartments be accessible to people with disabilities?
Three of the 14 units at Riverside Estates are barrier-free and accessible to people using motorized wheelchairs. All are fully occupied.
Who can apply?
To be eligible, a prospective tenant must have lived in Antigonish Town or County for at least three years; at least one member of the household must be 18 years of age or older; no member of the household owes any money to any affordable housing provider; and no member of the household has been convicted of misrepresenting their income for the purpose of rent-geared-to-income assistance. Preference will be given to those living on low incomes as defined by the Nova Scotia Housing Authority. To qualify for a 1-bedroom unit, household total annual income must be less than $52,500. To qualify for a 2-bedroom unit, household total annual income must be less than $60,000. To qualify for a 3+ bedroom unit, total household annual income must be less than $70,500. These rates are subject to change.
How will tenants be selected?
Tenants of Riverside Estates will be selected according to criteria developed under the guidance of the Community Navigator, as a well as the Tenant Selection Sub-Committee composed of external resource people, and one (1) AAHS Director. The committee will choose prospective residents based on a combination of factors including their core housing need, application date, and category of housing need (e.g. barrier-free). An applicant shortlisted for tenancy will be asked to meet with the committee to discuss the application further.
Will the information provided by prospective tenants be protected?
All employees and volunteers serving with the AAHS are required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement to protect the information provided by prospective tenants during the application process.
What rent will tenants be expected to pay?
Currently one-bedroom units at Appleseed Drive rent at $675 per month, two-bedroom units rent for $786 per month, and 3 bedroom units rent for $852. At Riverside Estates, one-bedroom units range from $562 to $574 per month and two-bedrooms range from $647 to $700 per month. Rents are subject to change.
Confirmation of rental rates should always be obtained from the Community Navigator whose office is located on site at Riverside Estates.
How do I apply?
You can print off an application form located here Tenant Application Form (pdf).
You can also pick up and drop off an application at the Town Hall, Municipal Office, the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre, or the circulations desk of the People’s Place Library. To request a form be sent to you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact our Community Navigator, Jaime Smith, at 902 318-3732.
What is the role of the Community Navigator?
The AAHS believes that a Community Navigator is a crucial part of an effective housing strategy. Most tenants in supportive housing face multiple and complex barriers to employment, including mental health issues, addictions and other disabilities. These tenants are less likely to obtain work independently, or to use traditional job search activities successfully. The Community Navigator will provide support to residents from the day they move in until their residency ends. The Navigator will help tenants access services and life skills support, foster social support among tenants, and create pathways for involvement in social and leisure activities with people in the neighbourhood and in the wider Antigonish community. Ultimately, the aim of the Navigator is to work with the tenants to turn the housing units into homes, and together, create a community.
Will there be a property manager?
The Community Navigator has been contracted to collect rent and maintain the building and grounds in good physical order in addition to his other responsibilities.
Is there a lease?
Yes residents will be asked to sign a one-year lease.
Is a security deposit required?
Half the monthly rent will be required as a security deposit before assuming tenancy. When a resident moves out, the property manager will return the deposit, with interest. The deposit may be used to cover the cost of any unpaid rent, damages caused by the resident beyond normal wear and tear, or bills and costs AAHS must cover if someone moves out without giving proper notice.
Are pets allowed?
AAHS encourages tenants to be responsible pet owners, as evidence shows that physical and mental health are improved with the companionship of a pet. Residents can keep a bird, fish, hamster or cat as long as the pet doesn’t disturb or harm other residents. Cats must be spayed or neutered and residents are expected to clean up their pet’s waste immediately. Tenants must register their pet with the Community Navigator, and provide a contact that can look after their pet in case of emergency.
Is smoking allowed?
Smoking is not permitted inside units, but will be permitted outside provided none of the other units are negatively impacted. Smoking must be done in a safe manner and smokers are reminded of the rights of non-smokiers to smoke-free spaces such as the shared yard. Tenants and their guests who choose to smoke outside are asked to ensure they properly dispose of their cigarettes/packaging. Tenants will be fully responsible for all costs associated with any evidence of smoking in units, including nicotine stains, ash residue and burn marks.
Does affordable housing affect property values in the surrounding area?
According to the National Associaton of Realtors in the United States, most studies indicate that affordable housing has no long-term negative impact on surrounding home values. In fact, some research shows the opposite, a net plus. According to McQuade and Diamond (2015), building affordable housing lowers the crime rate, both violent and property crime, and attracts a more racially and income diverse population. Other studies (Albright, Derickson and Massey, 2013; Goetz, Lam and Heitlinger, 1996) found the influence on property values tends to be minimized when the development is of high quality, is well-managed, and is aesthetically attractive and consistent with the surrounding housing stock.