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New rent supports for B.C.'s vulnerable people launched

FILE - Vancouver. (Riley Phillips, NEWS 1130 Photo)

New rent benefit aimed at helping vulnerable people in B.C. pay rent

Canada-B.C. Housing Benefit will mean hundreds of extra dollars each month for eligible households

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Veterans, people with disabilities, and women and children facing domestic violence are among the groups getting additional rent supports under a new deal between the federal and B.C. governments.

The Canada-B.C. Housing Benefit will mean hundreds of extra dollars each month for eligible households.

“It’s critically important. It’ll be administered by non-profits, in some part directly, and in other part BC Housing through their housing registry,” explained Attorney General David Eby, who is also the minister responsible for housing in B.C.

He says the agreement between the Government of Canada and the province will run for 10 years at a cost of $517 million.

“Twenty-five-thousand households will benefit from this initiative that the federal government is announcing today and we’re very grateful that they’re matching our efforts on this and bringing federal dollars to this really important program that helps keep people in the housing that they have,” Eby added.

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“So I am thrilled that the federal government is coming to the table in this way in our province and I am also especially pleased that this program is going to support, in such an important way, a number of vulnerable groups,” he added.

In 2018, the province announced enhancements to its Rental Assistance Program (RAP) and Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER).

Eby says households who are not eligible for these two programs will be able to get help from the Canada-B.C. Housing Benefit.

“These programs are helping thousands of families and these long-term investments laid the foundation for today’s announcement,” he explained.

Ahmed Hussen, the federal families, children, and social development minister, says the benefit will provide financial assistance to top up monthly rent payments for those who can’t make ends meet. He says the average benefit to participants across Canada has been about $2,500 a year, but the payment amount in B.C. can be increased depending on rent costs and household circumstances.