An overview of some of the housing programs and initiatives delivered by BC Housing during the fiscal year.
Developing affordable housing
As of March 31, 2021, BC Housing subsidized nearly 19,000 shelter spaces, housing units and rent supplements for those experiencing, or most at risk of experiencing, homelessness. This included:
- More than 12,800 supportive and transitional housing units.
- Over 2,200 permanent shelter spaces.
- Approximately 1,140 temporary shelter spaces were available at some point in 2020/21 in Temporary Shelters may be operating for 12 months or more in order to meet a community need and may be associated with a future development. Typically, they operate 24/7. *Note temporary shelter spaces were impacted by social distancing requirements.
- The Province funded approximately 400 extreme weather response shelter spaces across B.C. Extreme weather response beds are made available through the winter season, November 1 to March 31, in a community when an extreme weather alert is issued. *Note extreme weather spaces were impacted by social distancing requirements.
- As part of COVID response, approximately 3,000 additional spaces were made available. These COVID Self Isolation sites can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19/community-sites
- Over 3,800 rent supplements for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness.
- Over 1,750 of these through the Homeless Outreach Program.
- More than 1,700 of these through the Homeless Prevention Program.
- Outreach teams provide support to about 81 communities helping connect people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness to services and stable housing. Indigenous community-based organizations that connect people and provide services from an Indigenous perspective provide support to 17 of those communities.
- A 2008 B.C. study found that on average a person experiencing homelessness with addictions and/or mental illness used $55,000 per year in health care and/or corrections services compared to $37,000 for a person in supportive housing.
- 2018 B.C. studies showed that every dollar invested in supportive housing creates four to five dollars in social and/or economic value:
- Government realizes about half of the savings from decreased use of services
- Neighbourhoods benefit from improved well-being and increased local spending.
- A 2019 B.C. study linking data for more than 450 individuals in BC Housing-funded supportive housing and emergency shelters found:
- Supportive housing residents were 64% less likely than emergency shelter clients to use ambulance services
- The average hospital stay for supportive housing residents was 50% less than for emergency shelter clients.
More information can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services
Homeless Prevention Program (HPP)
Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) assists people in the following at-risk groups facing homelessness by providing rent supplements to help them access rental housing in the private market:
- People leaving the correctional and hospital systems
- Women escaping violence
- Youth transitioning out of the foster care system
- Individuals of Indigenous descent
As of March 31, 2021, more than 1,700 HPP rent supplements are managed by service providers in over 50 communities across B.C.
More information can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/homeless-prevention-program
Homeless Outreach Program
BC Housing’s outreach services are a group of outreach and support programs that help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness through the Homeless Outreach Program. The Homeless Outreach Program is enhanced by the Homeless Prevention Program and by culturally appropriate services to Indigenous individuals. Outreach workers meet their clients where they are — on the street, in a shelter, or in a temporary place.
As of March 31, 2021, just over 1,750 rent supplements are managed by service providers throughout B.C.
More information can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/homeless-outreach-program
Women in need
- Through the 2018 Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund, the Province is investing $734 million over the next 10 years to build and operate 1,500 new units of much-needed housing including transition houses, safe homes, second-stage and long-term housing.
- In 2020-21, over 1,200 spaces were provided in transition and safe houses as well as second-stage housing through the Women’s Transition House and Supports Program and programs targeting women in need. Provincial funding ensures 24/7 staffing at all transition houses.
- From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, the Women’s Transition Housing & Supports program enabled more than 10,800 stays in safe shelter and housing for women and children fleeing violence.
- BC Housing also provides priority placement and support services in social housing for women fleeing violence.
- More information can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/women-fleeing-violence/womens-transition-housing-supports
- Over 29,000 B.C. families live in provincially-subsidized housing (includes RAP)
- The Rental Assistance Program (RAP) provides working families earning less than $40,000 annually with cash assistance towards rent in the private market.
More information can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance-programs/RAP
- Approximately 8,300 low-income working families in B.C. received monthly cash assistance through the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) to help pay their rent as of March 31, 2021.
- Over 56,000 seniors’ households across British Columbia receive support for housing, including more than 20,600 in independent social housing, approximately 11,000 in supportive seniors housing, and 25,000 in SAFER benefits.
- We fund more than 10,900 assisted living and supportive seniors’ units to help seniors remain in their communities, close to family and friends.
- The Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) program helps make rent more affordable for B.C. seniors with low to moderate incomes. SAFER provides cash assistance to eligible B.C. residents who are aged 60 or over and who rent their homes.
More information can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance-programs/SAFER
- Approximately 25,000 seniors’ households in B.C. received SAFER benefits as of March 31, 2021.
Housing and supports for Indigenous Peoples
- Commencing in 2012, the B.C. government has transferred administration responsibilities of approximately 5,900 units of social housing operated by Indigenous Housing Providers to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association as of March 2020.
- Indigenous community-based organizations that connect people and provide services from an Indigenous perspective provide support to 17 communities across B.C: Dawson Creek, Duncan, Fort St. John, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langford, Metchosin, North Saanich, Oak Bay, Prince George, Saanich, Sidney, Sooke, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, and View Royal.
- Indigenous Peoples are supported in all categories of the housing continuum, not just in housing specifically dedicated to them.
Residential home construction
- Historical and recent monthly reports can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/research-centre/housing-data/new-homes-data