Southern Vancouver Island communities from Victoria to Port Renfrew have joined the campaign urging the provincial and federal governments to protect low-income co-op members at risk of losing their homes.
The Capital Regional District board of directors voted unanimously to call on senior levels of government to maintain a rent supplement program for thousands of low-income co-op members caught in the co-op housing crunch.
Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. president Patty Shaw said she’s delighted to have such a powerful partner support the campaign to keep vulnerable British Columbians from losing their housing.
“This is a vote of support for seniors, the disabled, new Canadians and single-parents who need help from the provincial and federal governments to remain in their homes,” said Shaw, a Saanich resident.
A motion put forward to the CRD board by Saanich Coun. Fred Haynes endorses CHF BC and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada’s “You Hold the Key: Fix the co-op housing crunch!” campaign. Low-income co-op households across Canada face a crisis. As federal agreements expire, so do federal funds for rent supplements that make housing affordable for low-income co-op members.
Nearly 400 (approximately a third) of the 1,172 co-op households in the CRD will be affected. In British Columbia, more than 3,000 co-op households will lose the support that keeps their homes affordable by 2020.
CHF BC and CHF Canada have proposed a rent supplement program for low-income co-op households that would be funded jointly by the federal and provincial governments. Delivered by the provincial government and based on an existing model, the program would only cost $3 million more this year than the B.C. government currently spends supporting low-income co-op members. By 2020 the extra cost to help thousands of co-op households as their federal rent subsidies expire will reach an additional $11 million per year.
The You Hold the Key campaign has also been endorsed by the Metro Vancouver Region, the Union of B.C. Municipalities and individual municipal councils (including Sidney and Saanich on Vancouver Island).