Skip to content

How some B.C. youth can get $600 per month for rent

B.C.'s rent supplement program meant to avoid homelessness will provide $600 a month to youth transitioning from government care to their first house.
The current application period will remain open until Nov. 1, 2022.

Young people transitioning from government care to their own homes will soon be eligible for a monthly rent supplement of $600.

The program, run by the Ministry of Children and Development, is meant to help vulnerable young adults avoid falling into homelessness.

“Finding and maintaining safe housing can be a significant challenge for young people in care,” wrote a ministry spokesperson in a press release Monday. 

According to report tallying 25 homeless counts across B.C. in 2020 and 2021, 8,665 individuals were experiencing homelessness in the province. Of those, 36 per cent of survey respondents said they had been or were currently in foster care, a youth group home or an Independent Living Agreement. 

Another 39 per cent identified as Indigenous, despite Indigenous people only accounting for just under six per cent of the province’s total population in 2021.

A more robust project to tally homeless populations across B.C. found 23,000 people experienced homelessness at one point in 2019. And while more recent data is not yet available, the BC Coroners Service warned last week that deaths of homeless people in the province jumped 75 per cent in 2021 compared to the previous year.

“This report reflects the risks and realities that people experiencing homelessness face every day,” chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement Oct. 12.

The coroner's report says 85 per cent of deaths last year among people experiencing homelessness were accidental, and 93 per cent of those accidental deaths were caused by the illicit drug supply.

Recipients of the program will receive the supplement for two years, or until they turn 27 years old.  

The current application period will remain open until Nov. 1, 2022. Any young adult is eligible for the program so long as they meet one of three criteria. 

Those include youth who are eligible for the Agreements with Young Adults program; youth who have spent a total of 24 months in care between the ages of 12 and when they turn 19; and any youth who, between 12 and 19, was adopted or had their custody permanently transferred to somebody who wasn’t their parent.

The government says half of the rent supplements are earmarked for Indigenous people.

In a press release, the Ministry of Children and Development said a second application period for the rent subsidy program will open in the spring of 2023.

Applications to the rent supplement program can be submitted online or requested by email at [email protected].

With files from the Canadian Press