End of subsidies put co-op housing at risk

The government subsidies co-op housing groups rely on are coming to an end

Patty Shaw

B.C.’s most financially vulnerable co-op housing members are facing a crunch that’s already forcing people out of their homes.

The government subsidies co-op housing groups rely on are coming to an end as the Canadian Mortgage and Housing co-op agreements made from the 1970s to ‘90s are sunsetting.

“Not all co-op housing members are low income but we do have a great number of people who rely on the government subsidies, seniors and single parents, who will be out of options when it comes to staying in their community,” said Saanich’s Patty Shaw, president of the Co-op Housing Federation of B.C.

As a single mom, Shaw moved into the Kailasa Co-op on Burbank Crescent in the Glanford neighbourhood 23 years ago. She raised her two children there, and along the way became involved with the Kailasa board of directors and then the CHFBC. On Monday, she spoke to Saanich council about CHFBC’s You Hold the Key, a campaign to ‘Fix the co-op housing crunch.’

The Kailasa Co-op had two new members move in this year, the first member turnover in seven years. Of the 17 units at Kailasa three are still inhabited by founding members. One of the founding members recently moved, a senior citizen who knew he couldn’t afford it anymore, especially with the subsidies ending, Shaw said.

“The You Hold the Key movement is a plan to keep vulnerable, low-income co-op members in their homes and communities. Otherwise they’re left looking for alternative housing that’s impossible to find [locally].”

Saanich council invited Shaw to return on Monday to speak on a resolution which council is considering. What CHFBC is proposing with You Hold the Key is a provincially funded rent supplement program for low-income co-op members based on the rent supplement agreement many co-ops already have with B.C. Housing under the federal Index-Linked Mortgage program.

There are 59 ILM housing co-ops in B.C. receiving funds from the province. Instead of letting those come to an end (which they will), CHFBC hopes the province can extend the program to low-income co-op members as their federal housing agreements end.

Affordable housing is a priority for first-term Coun. Fred Haynes, who initially invited Shaw to present to Council on behalf CHFBC.

“What we need is the municipal, provincial and federal governments working jointly together,” he said. “In actual fact, supportive housing is a benefit to society, as the costs are greater when that housing isn’t provided. We need many answers on the table and certainly indexing [income-related] is one of them.”

Sidney already endorsed You Hold the Key after a local co-op brought it to council with Shaw’s help.

“We’re not all on income assistance – that needs to be clear – but we have our share of members who do [receive it], and in some places it’s a lot,” Shaw said.

There are 12 co-ops in Saanich. Two of them, the Royal Oak Square and North Ridge Co-op, share the same intersection with Kailasa at Lodi and Burbank.



Just Posted

Watchdog group says Saanich council needs a ‘reality check’ about taxes

Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria warns of eroding housing affordability in Saanich

Time-lapse video shows weekend work on McKenzie Interchange project

Construction crews place concrete underpass bridge beams

‘Best in the country’: Formerly homeless man praises Victoria’s outreach services

Jay W. was living on the streets of downtown Victoria in 2018

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

City of Victoria plans workshop to determine fate of Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Conversations will happen as part of a reconciliation dialogue series in May 2020

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Police ask for help locating missing men last seen in South Surrey

Jeep that Richard Scurr and Ryan Provencher were in has been located unoccupied in Logan Lake: RCMP

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Most Read