British Columbians worried as end of COVID-19 rental supplement looms

British Columbians worried as end of COVID-19 rental supplement looms

Single mom struggles as supplement was her saving grace

COVID-19 impacted workers who have been relying on B.C.’s rental supplement to afford a roof over their head could be out of luck come Sept. 1.

The BC Temporary Rental Supplement Program has been providing up to $500 a month in rent for those affected by COVID-19 ($500 for those with dependents and $300 for those without). While the program has been in place since April 2020, and was extended most recently to include July and August, there is no news that the program will be extended.

“With the province’s safe restart plan underway, this program is concluding at the end of August,” BC Housing’s director of external communications and brand management Deneka Michaud said.

New applications for August payments continue to be accepted until Aug. 31.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, so too will government’s response to it, and government is working hard on an economic recovery plan that puts the priorities of British Columbians first as we build B.C. back better, together,” Michaud said.

Meanwhile, some renters are starting to wonder how they are going to make ends meet as COVID-19 continues to impact their paycheque.

One single Okanagan mom said the rental supplement has been the saving grace for her to allow to keep her suite with her child since her hours were cut back in April.

“Unfortunately, the company I work for is still struggling due to the effects of the pandemic therefore it doesn’t look like I will be back to full-time work until at least 2021,” said the single mom, who wished not to be identified.

Working part time has been helpful with a child at home, but being on a fixed income she’s worried about how she is going to pay the bills in September without that benefit.

BC Housing says there are additional supports, including the Rental Assistance Program and Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters, available at bchousing.com.

“We encourage any renters still experiencing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19 to explore whether they may be eligible for other programs administered by BC Housing,” Michaud said.

According to the province, roughly 90,000 applications were received from April 9 to June 15. Nearly 82,500 people have qualified for the money.

READ MORE: B.C. extends COVID-19 rental supplement, alters moratorium in evictions

READ MORE: 100 homes for Vernon homeless proposed


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