COVID-19: Edmonton landlord asks Kenney to give renters emergency subsidies

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Alberta needs to give renters an emergency subsidy to alleviate the fear of losing their homes amid the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, says an Edmonton landlord.

In an open letter sent to Premier Jason Kenney late Wednesday, Jim Huth, owner and president of property management company LiveTreo, says people who have lost their incomes have a “legitimate, valid, and primal fear of homelessness.” He says the province needs to send a clear message that it will take care of renters, and creating a dedicated rent supplement is a practical way the government can intervene.

“I want the government to support citizens and say ‘we’ve got your back … we care about you, you are a member of society, you’re valuable and you’re going to be safe.’ That message has to come,” he says.

“Rent strike April 1” was scrawled in purple spray paint on an apartment building in Old Strathcona this week, and the Keep Your Rent movement, which started in Toronto, has now made its way to an Edmonton Facebook group.