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Housing advocate: B.C. not doing enough to help renters get through pandemic

Last Updated Apr 1, 2020 at 8:07 am PDT

FILE: Homes are pictured in Vancouver on April 16, 2019. The federal government is changing the stress test rate for insured mortgages starting April 6. The government says the change will allow the rate to be more representative of the mortgage rates offered by lenders and more responsive to market conditions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Advocate says the provincial government isn't doing enough to help renters during this pandemic

The advocate calls on Premier John Horgan to cancel rent as long as this 'new normal' continues

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — An advocate says if the province really wants to help people during the pandemic, it should start by cancelling rent for the time being.

Following an update Premier John Horgan made Tuesday, Murray Martin, chair of the Burnaby ACORN Chapter, says he is unsatisfied with the announcement and is calling on Horgan to implement more help for renters.

He says a lot of people are going to be hard-pressed to come up with their rent money April 1.

“Basically there’s a lot of people who have lost their jobs and they really need a break on the rent,
the rent cancellation right away at least for this month,” Martin says.

So far, the province’s COVID-rental aid has seen rental rates frozen, a $500 rebate offered to help renters and landlords. Evictions have also stopped.

“[People are] having to make a choice between rent and food, some members are having to choose between rent and medicine. Really, really disappointed in this government’s response to the situation,” he says.

The call from ACORN comes as other groups in Canada, the U.S., and other parts of the world call for similar rent strikes in the wake of the pandemic