Deborah Snow battled breast cancer and spent two years living on a boat in Halifax Harbour because she couldn’t find affordable housing.


The 53-year-old Dartmouth woman says the $535 she receives in social assistance for shelter doesn’t cover the rent. Her rent for a one-bedroom on Windmill Road is $605 plus heat and light.


“I have to choose whether to have food or pay the electric bill, so I’ve been choosing to have food so I can build my strength up again,” she said.


Snow told her story to Judith Ferguson, deputy minister of Community Services on Friday. Ferguson told Snow to contact her staff.


Snow said she’s ineligible to apply for public housing because she owns two dogs — her constant companions through surviving breast cancer and poverty. Provincial public housing doesn’t allow dogs in its high-rises, but one is permitted in row houses.

More than 1,000 people are on the waiting list for public housing in metro.