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

“Isolation is normal for us,” says Saanich dad with cystic fibrosis

Gordon Head man says now’s the time to approve life-saving cystic fibrosis drug

Victoria business still busy as people turn to books while in self-isolation

Russell Books says certain genres have gained popularity during COVID-19

Farmers’ markets still open in Greater Victoria

The Moss Street and Esquimalt Farmers’ markets are scheduled to take place, with slight variations

Sooke School District promises learning opportunites for students by mid-April

‘No intent to replicate regular school day virtually’ SD62 says

VIDEO: Musician stays physically distant in courtyard show for Langford retirees

Bob Nelson found a way to continue to play for retirement community residents

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Most Read