BC Housing’s Research Centre produces statistics and reports that inform and guide policy decisions.
Check out the information provided here regarding housing for various demographic groups as well as recent investments in affordable housing made by the provincial government.
- BC Housing partners with over 830 housing providers in more than 290 communities across British Columbia, providing support to more than 105,140 households (as of March 31, 2017).
- B.C. households benefit from a diverse range of provincial housing programs and services:
- Funding for emergency shelters, rent supplements and supportive/transitional housing helps those who are experiencing or most at risk of homelessness by connecting them to stable housing and support services.
- Supportive housing with integrated programs for tenants dealing with mental health and substance use challenges.
- Transition house, second-stage, and safe home programs for women and children fleeing violence.
- Assisted and supported living options for seniors and people with disabilities
- Independent social housing units for low-income families and senior households
- Rent assistance to keep private-market rentals affordable for low- to -moderate income families and seniors.
- Affordable housing that also addresses the cultural needs of Indigenous Peoples
- From April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, we created more than 2,000 new affordable rental housing units in approximately 23 communities across the province.
- Nearly 53,640 seniors’ households across B.C. receive support for housing, including close to 20,800 in independent social housing.
- We fund more than 11,200 assisted living and supportive seniors’ units to help seniors remain in their communities, close to family and friends.
- We have completed close to 1,200 units of affordable rental housing for seniors and people with disabilities in smaller communities throughout B.C. (Seniors Rental Housing Initiative ).
- The Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) Program provides financial assistance of up to $20,000 per home to help low-income seniors and people with disabilities pay for home modifications for accessible, safe and independent living. Since inception, nearly 2,000 households have completed renovations through this program with more than 390 of these between April 2016 to March 2017.
- Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) provides cash assistance to eligible B.C. residents who are age 60 or over and who rent their homes. Close to 21,500 seniors’ households in B.C. receive SAFER benefits. The average monthly payment is approximately $187.
- As of March 2017, more than 2,010 additional affordable housing units for low-income seniors and close to another 420 units for frail seniors are currently in development or under construction.
- More than 20,260 B.C. families live in provincially subsidized housing.
- Close to an additional 10,000 families receive rent assistance to keep the cost of private-market rent more affordable (More than 9,850 through the Rental Assistance Program).
- More than 3,230 additional affordable housing units for low-income families are currently in development or under construction.
- The Rental Assistance Program (RAP) provides working families earning less than $35,000 annually with cash assistance towards rent in the private market. The average monthly payment is approximately $405.
- Just over 9,850 low-income working families in B.C. received monthly cash assistance through RAP to help pay their rent.
- Nearly 6,880 (approximately 70 per cent) of these are female-led, single-parent households.
- Since program inception, more than 37,020 unique households have received a subsidy through RAP.
Around $285 million was provided last year to support more than 14,270 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized units and rent supplements for those experiencing homelessness or most at risk of homelessness across British Columbia. This included:
Close to 1,980 permanent, year-round shelter beds;
More than 8,950 subsidized housing units for individuals who were experiencing homelessness or most at risk of homelessness; and
Close to 3,350 rent supplements, with more than 1,550 of them provided through the Homeless Prevention Program.
Through local government partnerships with eight B.C. communities, close to $381 million was provided to build more than 2,000 new supportive housing units for those experiencing homelessness or most at risk of homelessness, with nearly 1,400 of these units in Vancouver.
Ninety-five per cent of the permanent shelter beds are now available 24/7 and provide three meals a day.
In 2016/17 an additional 385 temporary shelter spaces were available throughout the year in five communities in B.C. These shelters operate for 12 months or more in order to meet a community need. Typically they operate 24/7 and provide meals.
Last winter, the B.C. government provided close to 555 winter response shelter spaces during the winter season, November 1 to March 31. These shelters are typically open overnight.
Last winter the Province provided funded more than 1,985 extreme weather response shelter spaces providing additional support to close to 75 communities across B.C. Extreme weather response beds which are made available through the winter season, November 1 to March 31, in a community when an extreme weather alert is issued.
Last winter, the B.C. government made $2.97 million available to provide close to 1,200 extreme weather response shelter spaces, providing additional support to close to 100 communities across B.C.
Outreach teams provide support to more than 80 communities helping connect people who are experiencing homelessness or most at risk of homelessness to services and stable housing. Aboriginal outreach teams provide support to 17 of those communities.
As of March 2017, more than 600 new housing units for people who are experiencing homelessness or most at risk of homelessness are in development or under construction in communities across B.C.
As of March 2017, service providers based in more than 35 communities are providing support through the Homeless Prevention Program to nearly 50 communities throughout B.C. This program is provides portable monthly rent supplements and support services to at-risk individuals experiencing homelessness or most at risk of homelessness allowing them to access rental housing in the private market.
- Approximately 4,550 housing units are dedicated to Indigenous Peoples in order to provide access to safe, secure and culturally appropriate housing.
- As of March 2017, approximately 280 additional units specifically dedicated to supporting Indigenous Peoples are in development or under construction.
- We have transferred management responsibilities of approximately 4,370 Indigenous housing units to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association to support Indigenous self-management of social housing.
- Indigenous Peoples are supported in all categories of the housing continuum, not just in housing specifically dedicated to them.
- The B.C. government provides approximately $43 million annually to support close to 840 spaces in transition and safe houses as well as second-stage housing through the Women’s Transition House and Supports Program.
- Funds for 24/7 staffing are provided for all transition houses.
- In 2016/2017, the Province announced the new Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing Program. Over the next five years, the Province is committing a total of $355 million to create upwards of 2,000 new affordable housing units under the Provincial Investment in Affordable Housing.
- In 2016/17, the Province announced a commitment of $500 million under Investment in Housing Innovation to increase the supply of affordable rental housing for renters with low to moderate incomes.
- Last year, we created more than 2,004 new affordable housing units in approximately 23 communities across the province. This includes close to 30 new rent supplements provided through the new Homeless Prevention Program (HPP), which started in 2014.
- In 2016/17 the new BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership (BC HOME) program was launched to help first-time buyers with the purchase of their first home. As of March 31, 2017, more than 200 home loans were approved and funded in 63 communities across the province.
Housing in development or under construction
SRO Renewal Initiative
- The federal and provincial governments entered into a partnership to renovate and restore 13 provincially owned SRO buildings in Vancouver. Eleven of these buildings are in the Downtown Eastside.
- The Province invested $147 million into the SRO Renewal initiative to renovate the 13 SROs (11 in the Downtown Eastside) under a public-private partnership. This included $29 million from the Government of Canada through the P3 Canada Fund. Building lifecycle and facilities maintenance services will also be provided for these 13 SROs for 15 years.
- This initiative will deliver long-term, supportive housing and an improved quality of life for nearly 900 residents living in the Downtown Eastside.
- Renovations to all 13 hotels were completed by February 2017.
- Close to 1,400 new supportive housing units have been built in Vancouver in partnership with the City of Vancouver and Streetohome.
- As a “housing-first” model, people in supportive housing are not turned away because they have challenges, but instead get a safe place to live, where they are connected to the services they need to stabilize and rebuild their lives.
- These supports can include mental health, addiction and medical services, income supports, as well as education, training and life-skills programs.
- The cost of providing supportive housing to a person experiencing homelessness or most at risk of homelessness is less expensive and has better outcomes compared to the cost of providing that person with an emergency shelter bed.
- While shelters play an important role, the focus for the B.C. government is to create housing that helps people move off the streets permanently.
For financial details about BC Housing programs and services, please see Corporate Reports & Plans.