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Fact Sheet

BC Housing’s Research Centre produces statistics and data 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. Unless otherwise stated, the statistics on this page are from April 2015 to March 2016.

  • BC Housing partners with over 800 housing providers in more than 280 communities across British Columbia, providing support to more than 104,000 households.
  • B.C. households benefit from a diverse range of provincial housing programs and services:
    • Funding for emergency shelters, homeless rent supplements and supportive/transitional housing that helps those who are experiencing homelessness find homes and begin to rebuild their lives
    • Transition houses, second-stage and safe homes for women and children starting a new life after leaving abusive relationships
    • Supportive housing for individuals suffering from addictions and mental health challenges
    • Rent assistance to keep private-market rentals affordable for low-income families and seniors
    • Assisted living and accessible apartments for seniors and people with disabilities
    • Subsidized rental units for individuals and families
    • Affordable housing that also addresses the cultural needs of Indigenous Peoples
  • In 2015-16, we created more than 2,800 new affordable rental housing units in approximately 42 communities across the province. We achieved this partly through the more than 1,420 rent supplements we provided through the new Homeless Prevention Program, which started in 2014.
  • Nearly 52,800 seniors’ households across B.C. receive support for housing, including close to 21,300 in independent social housing.
  • We fund approximately 11,500 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 1,640 households have completed renovations through this Program, making it possible for low-income seniors and people with disabilities to continue to live in the safety and comfort of their homes.
  • Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) provides cash assistance to eligible B.C. residents who are age 60 or over and who pay rent for their home.
  • Close to 19,900 seniors’ households in B.C. receive SAFER benefits. The average monthly payment is approximately $175.
  • Approximately 20,120 B.C. families live in provincially subsidized housing.
  • An additional 10,330 families receive rent assistance to keep the cost of private-market rent more affordable. We support nearly 10,200 of these households through our Rental Assistance Program.
  • More than 1,440 additional affordable housing units for low-income families are currently in development or under construction.
  • The Rental Assistance Program provides working families earning less than $35,000 annually with cash assistance towards rent in the private market. The average monthly payment is approximately $400.
    • Last year, close to 10,200 low-income working families in B.C. received monthly cash assistance through the program to help pay their rent. 
    • Nearly 7,400 (approximately 72 per cent) of these are female-led, single-parent households.
    • Since 2006, more than 34,800 unique households have received a subsidy through the program.
  • Around $204 million was provided last year to support more than 14,000 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized units and rent supplements for those who were experiencing homelessness across British Columbia. This included:
    • Close to 1,990 permanent, year-round shelter beds;
    • More than 8,780 subsidized housing units for individuals who were experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness; and
    • More than 3,230 homeless rent supplements, with more than 1,300 rent supplements provided through the Homeless Outreach and Aboriginal Homeless Outreach programs, and nearly 1,520 portable monthly rent supplements allocated to providers across the province through the new Homeless Prevention Program.
  • Through local government partnerships with eight B.C. communities, close to $500 million was provided to build more than 2,000 new supportive housing units for people experiencing homelessness or 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.
  • Last winter, the B.C. government made $2.1 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 60 communities, helping connect people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to services and stable housing. Indigenous outreach teams provide support to 17 of those communities.
  • Last year, more than 7,100 people were connected to housing through outreach and shelter services in British Columbia.
  • As of March 2016, more than 440 new housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are in development or under construction in communities across B.C.
  • As of March 2016, service providers in more than 35 communities are providing support through the Homeless Prevention Program to nearly 50 communities throughout B.C. This new program is providing portable monthly rent supplements and support services to at-risk individuals facing homelessness to access rental housing in the private market.
  • Indigenous Peoples are supported in all categories of the housing continuum, not just in housing specifically dedicated to Indigenous Peoples. More than 4,500 housing units are specifically designated to provide Indigenous Peoples with access to safe, secure and culturally appropriate housing.
  • More than 200 of these off-reserve units have been built through the Aboriginal Housing Initiative, providing safe, secure and culturally appropriate housing for Indigenous youth, women, elders and those struggling with addictions.
  • In July 2011, an additional $5-million investment was made in partnership with the federal government, under the Investment in Affordable Housing Agreement and Aboriginal Housing Management Association, to create new affordable housing for Indigenous households in need.
  • We transferred approximately 4,420 Indigenous housing units to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association to support Indigenous self-management of social housing.
  • Last year, provincially funded shelter and outreach workers helped more than 3,000 Indigenous Peoples who were homeless or at risk of homelessness find stable housing.
  • The B.C. government provides approximately $32 million annually to support more than 830 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 addition to long-term transitional housing, the B.C. government funds approximately 250 emergency shelter spaces for women or women with children across the province, including more than 130 women-only shelter spaces in Vancouver.
  • Since 2006, the B.C. government has invested more than $150 million to acquire 55 buildings across British Columbia.
  • This has protected approximately 2,500 units of existing affordable housing, most of which faced conversion into more expensive forms of housing or other uses.
  • Twenty-six of the buildings (for a total of 1,400 rooms), acquired in 2007, are single-room-occupancy (SRO) hotels in Vancouver, New Westminster and Victoria — preserving affordable housing for those who need it most and in most instances providing support services.

Vancouver SROs

  • The B.C. government acquired 24 SRO hotels in Vancouver in 2007, 20 of which are located in the Downtown Eastside.
  • Vacancies in SRO hotels are filled by people experiening homelessness, who can begin the process of getting connected to community services that will help them establish successful tenancies. Existing tenants, who have been living in SRO hotels, may have the opportunity of moving into supportive housing projects. This is a critical next step for people who formerly experienced homelessness to develop more successful independent lives.

SRO Renewal Initiative

  • The federal and provincial governments have 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 is investing $143.3 million into the SRO Renewal Initiative to renovate 13 SROs under a public-private partnership. This includes $29.1 million from the Government of Canada through the P3 Canada Fund. Building life cycle 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 are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
  • 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 homeless person 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.