Housing crisis is raging across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

All across our beautiful island, worsening housing conditions, a shortage of affordable housing, and housing security issues are observed.


A study conducted jointly by the Municipalities of Newfoundland and Labrador and the organization Choices for Youth analyzed housing conditions in 11 communities across the province through interviews with key figures and focus groups including municipal councillors, staff, and community representatives. Discussions were also conducted with individuals who had firsthand experience with poverty and housing insecurity in various regions of the province.


The results of these discussions highlighted difficulties with housing affordability and availability, as well as a lack of vacant rental housing exacerbated by the onset of the pandemic. Unsatisfactory living conditions were also identified  by renters. In 8 out of 11 communities, a third of renters were reported having to live in housing that did not meet their needs, and this figure reaching as high as 44% in some areas.


Both social housing and the general rental market are inaccessible to the majority. The rural population is aging, and household sizes are small, creating a mismatch between available housing and residents’ needs. The study noted that communities struggle to meet the existing demand for housing. A deficit of 1880 units of available housing was identified in the surveyed communities, specifically for one- and two-bedroom apartments. Vacancy shortages are observed across almost all social groups.


The table shows the number of units with vacancies and the percentage of vacant units in different communities. Some communities have fully occupied housing, while others have a certain number of vacancies.


Among the most vulnerable groups are youth, labor migrants, the unemployed, and part-time workers. Communities also face housing problems for elderly people. Many elderly individuals reside in homes where maintenance and heating costs are burdensome.


Between 2019 and 2023, the number of people utilizing shelters outside the Avalon region increased nearly tenfold. The number of families using shelters on a count day in 2019 was zero, whereas in 2023, it was 16.


Experts identified insufficient funding for housing construction and maintenance, jurisdictional issues, and access to information as factors affecting housing availability and affordability.


Despite these challenges, municipal governments remain actively engaged in seeking solutions. Robert Nolan, CEO of the Municipalities Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, indicated that the findings would help them address issues at the municipal level.



  • The study indicates the need for a comprehensive approach at all levels of governance to address the housing crisis in rural areas of Newfoundland.
  • The federal government can alleviate the situation by providing financial support prior to application submissions and distributing funding programs for various types of municipalities and developers.
  • At the municipal level, it is recommended to utilize development control, negotiate agreements with suppliers, and consider proactive zoning changes to ensure affordable housing.


At the provincial level, it is important to set goals for community housing development, increase municipal powers, and coordinate social assistance and minimum wage.



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