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

Stay away from landfills, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen urges

Residents urged to use curbside collection services, stockpile recyclables during COVID-19 pandemic

WATCH: Penticton boy celebrates birthday, from a distance

Lucas Lemke celebrated his 11th birthday while practising social distancing

Second Vernon-area high school exposed to COVID-19

Kalamalka Secondary School staff, students urged to self-isolate if showing symptoms

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen cancels April 2 meeting

Staff working to install videoconferencing system during COVID-19 pandemic

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Okanagan distillery hands out thousands of sanitizer bottles, needs help in COVID-19 fight

Okanagan Springs is donating hand sanitizer to help fill COVID-induced shortages

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

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

Most Read