B.C. Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson (B.C. government)

B.C. promises up to $500 monthly in rent support amid COVID-19

Freeze on rent increases, most evictions also taking effect

The B.C. government is offering up to $500 in rent supplement payments for each of the next four months to help people stay in their homes as their income is affected by COVID-19.

Premier John Horgan announced the rent supplement plan March 25, along with a freeze on rent increases and most evictions. Horgan warned that the new fund is reserved for people who have lost their jobs, had hours cut or are confined at home due to the virus threat.

“If you can pay your rent, you should pay your rent,” Horgan said.

Like the $1,000 relief for laid-off people B.C. announced earlier in the coronavirus emergency, Horgan said eligibility will depend on being eligible for the federal government’s Employment Insurance expansion. Layoff notices or other documentation will be required.

The application process through B.C. Housing is still “a work in progress,” Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Selina Robinson said.

RELATED: B.C. budget heads into unknown deficits for COVID-19

RELATED: 28% of B.C. COVID-19 cases have recovered, Henry says

Horgan said he is aware that April rent is due soon and $500 is only part of the solution for many renters. He urged people to work with landlords, such as temporarily using damage deposits.

“We can’t guarantee it will be in their pockets by April 1,” Horgan said. “We are going to get the resources into people’s hands as quickly as possible.”

The program will be funded out of the $5 billion aid package the B.C. legislature approved in an emergency session March 22.

Evictions under the residential tenancy regulations will not go ahead unless there are issues of safety involved, said Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, the B.C. government’s advisor on rental housing.

B.C. Housing administers existing rent supplements and will send the new payments directly to landlords. Robinson said that is the fastest way to deliver the support and also helps landlords make their mortgage payments during a critical time.

“We’re helping renters pay rent and giving them the peace of mind that they have a stable home in these unprecedented times, and ensuring that landlords can count on some rental income right now to keep them afloat too,” Robinson said.

Horgan called on financial institutions to provide some flexibility on mortgages to allow time for the aid to reach people from the federal and provincial governments, and the COVID-19 pandemic to work its way through and allow normal life again.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Abbotsford Agrifair’s 2020 event still in the works

Fair will respect COVID-19 health directives, but continuing plans in hope ban will be lifted

Man sentenced for setting apartment barbecue on fire in Abbotsford

Michael Rodden climbed to second-storey balcony in March 2019

Public urged to continue donating blood during pandemic

Upcoming donor clinics in Abbotsford and Mission

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

‘There is community’: B.C. councillor welcomes new baby into world amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is hope, there is new life’: Jason Lum

Most Read