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B.C. just launched a $300 to $500 rent supplement — here’s how you apply

The program, announced last week and launching Thursday, April 9, offers subsidies to help pay your rent
Unemployed renters can now get a B.C. rent supplement through BC Housing.
Unemployed renters can now get a B.C. rent supplement through BC Housing.

Tri-City renters can get up to $500 in rent support to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Coquitlam -Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson, who is also B.C.’s housing minister.

Announced over a week ago but officially available today (April 9), the program, offered through B.C. Housing, will provide $300 per month for eligible households with no dependents and $500 per month for eligible households with dependents.

Eligible roommates will each be able to apply for the supplement.

However, the program is only for three months, the money goes directly to landlords, and other criteria apply.

Still, Robinson said it should help people during this difficult time.

"This crisis is putting pressure on people across B.C. We're helping British Columbians get through this by halting evictions so renters will not lose their home. We're helping them pay rent with the new temporary rental supplement — providing direct relief on the biggest month-to-month expense for most households," Robinson stated in a press release.

To receive the rental supplement, you must be:

• receiving or eligible for Employment Insurance, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or experiencing a 25% reduction in monthly employment income as a result of COVID-19;

• 2019 household income of less than $74,150 for households with no dependents and $113,040 for households with dependents;

• paying more than 30% of current/reduced gross monthly income towards rent; and

• not receiving any other rent subsidy from any level of government, including subsidized housing or rent supplements, such as Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistance Program (RAP).

The supplement will be available for April, May and June 2020. Renters who are eligible for the program and have already paid their April rent are still able to receive the rental supplement for this month.

Once an application is completed and processed, funds will be direct-deposited within approximately seven days. 

BC Housing has redeployed employees and brought on additional staff to make sure applications are processed as quickly as possible.

The rental supplement is in addition to funding available from the federal government and the $1,000 B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers.

It's part of the Province's $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people and businesses, and to support the services people count on.

The province has also halted evictions and frozen rent increases for existing tenants during this emergency, is allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas to protect against the transmission of COVID-19, and has given renters the right to control who enters their units, except in emergency circumstances.

For more information about the criteria and to apply visit here: http://bchousing.org/bctrs or call 1-877- 757-2577.

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