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Members of New Brunswick ACORN rally in Moncton on May 31, 2024. Image: Brad Perry

Tenants’ rights group unveils N.B. election priorities

By Brad Perry Jun 3, 2024 | 4:55 AM

A tenants’ rights group is making its voice heard ahead of the upcoming provincial election campaign.

New Brunswick ACORN unveiled its election priorities during a rally in Moncton on Friday afternoon.

Nearly two dozen people attended, including members of the Green Party Liberal Party, and NDP.

The group has four priority areas: expanding tenant rights; raising the rates; eliminating energy poverty; and ending the opioid crisis.

Co-Chair Peter Jongeneelen said that includes permanent rent control, a rental registry to track rents, and increased funding for subsidized housing.

Jongeneelen said they also want to see all political parties commit to raising social assistance rates in the province.

“When you look at, say, an average rent of $1,200 to $1,500 for a one-bedroom, anyone who is on social assistance cannot afford that at all at the current rates,” he said.

Currently, single New Brunwickers on social assistance receive anywhere between $637 and $886 per month, according to provincial figures.

NB ACORN also wants to see a support payment that covers 30 per cent of low-income consumers’ power bills and a moratorium on winter power shut-offs.

In addition, the group is calling for a publicly funded and operated drug treatment facility as part of the health-care system.

Jongeneelen said he thinks New Brunswick’s ongoing housing crisis will be top of mind for many voters heading into the election.

“From what we’re hearing from tenants, it already is a huge election issue and I think it needs to stay as a big election issue,” he said.

Voters are currently scheduled to head to the polls on Oct. 21.