Rental accommodation is hard to find in many B.C. communities. (Flickr)

Seniors, families focus of B.C. rental housing fund

Target of 14,000 new non-profit units over the next 10 years

Premier John Horgan parcelled out a $1.89 billion share of the B.C. government’s decade-long housing plan Wednesday, to assist municipalities and non-profits to add 14,000 new rental units around the province.

The provincial agency B.C. Housing is issuing requests for proposals to identify partners, including co-ops, to develop mixed income rental projects. The priority will be low- and middle-income seniors and families who need larger rental accommodations, Horgan said.

The new community housing fund will require participating agencies and municipalities to provide 50 per cent of units for households with incomes ranging from $21,000 to $95,000, depending on the community and the size of the unit. Rents for those units will be based on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation definition of affordability, which is at or below 30 per cent of household income.

Another 20 per cent are to be designated to low income, including those receiving income assistance, with incomes of $15,000 to $30,000.

That leaves 30 per cent of units for households with “moderate incomes,” defined as up to $71,200 for homes with fewer than two bedrooms and up to $104,000 for homes with two or more bedrooms.

The NDP government’s total housing commitment in its February budget is $7 billion. Housing Minister Selina Robinson said other segments to be announced will focus on aboriginal housing and options for women leaving abusive relationships.

The housing fund aims to meet the B.C. NDP’s 2017 election commitment to provide 114,000 new residential units in 10 years. The government’s initial investment last fall was for modular housing units deployed to municipalities with tent camps and temporary shelters.

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