This wasn’t expected

Authority Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Gail was five months pregnant and cared for her seven-year-old child in a shared apartment. She had just received an eviction notice for failing to pay rent. The notice told her to move out within 24 hours. With nowhere to go, Gail contacted the ministry to request a crisis supplement. When the ministry refused to provide emergency assistance, Gail contacted us.

During our investigation, the ministry told us that Gail had previously asked that her shelter allowance be paid to her and not directly to her landlord. While the ministry agreed to send Gail the money, they did so under one condition: No further assistance would be forthcoming if Gail failed to use her shelter allowance for its intended purpose – securing shelter. Wrongly assuming Gail failed to pay rent, the ministry determined that she wasn’t eligible under the crisis supplement policy because her rent obligations, in the ministry’s view, were not unexpected.

We pointed out that Gail had actually paid her portion of the rent. The eviction notice stated there was an outstanding amount of $450, which was the amount Gail’s roommate was expected to pay.

Gail had been in hospital due to complications with her pregnancy. When she returned home she was surprised to discover her roommate had moved out. Because Gail did not expect her roommate to leave without paying any of the rent, Gail’s need was unexpected.

After considering the information our investigation provided, the ministry agreed to send Gail a cheque for $450. Gail thanked us for helping her avoid eviction.

Category Housing and Property, Income and Benefits
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2014
Location The North