An overview of some of the housing programs and initiatives delivered by BC Housing during the fiscal year.
Developing affordable housing
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 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 31 March 2017 more than 200 home loans were approved and funded in 67 communities across the province.
Housing in development or under construction
As of March 31, 2017, more than an additional 6,720 housing units were in development or under construction.
As of March 31, 2017, BC Housing subsidizes close to 14,280 shelter spaces, housing units and rent supplements for those experiencing, or most at risk of experiencing, homelessness. This included:
- More than 8,950 supportive and transitional housing units.
- Close to 1,980 shelter spaces (1,820 of these through the Emergency Shelter Program).
- Ninety-five per cent of the permanent shelter beds are now available 24/7 and provide three meals a day.
- An additional 385 temporary shelter spaces were available throughout the 2016/17 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 are made available through the winter season, November 1 to March 31, in a community when an extreme weather alert is issued.
- Nearly 3,350 rent supplements for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness.
- Close to 1,410 of these through the Homeless Outreach/Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Programs.
- More than 1,550 of these through the Homeless Prevention Program.
- We partnered with eight B.C. communities to build more than 2,000 new supportive housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Close to 1,400 of these units are in Vancouver.
- Outreach teams provide support to more than 80 communities helping connect people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness to services and stable housing. Aboriginal outreach teams provide support to 17 of those communities.
A 2008 study noted that on average, a person experiencing homelessness with struggling with serious substance use and mental illness, uses approximately $55,000 per year in health care and corrections services compared to $37,000 for a person in supportive housing (nearly 50% more).
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; and,
- Individuals of Indigenous descent.
As of March 31, 2017, more than 1,550 HPP rent supplements are managed by service providers in nearly 50 communities across B.C.
Homeless Outreach/Aboriginal Homeless Outreach programs (HOP/AHOP)
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/Aboriginal Homeless Outreach programs (HOP/AHOP). Outreach workers meet their clients where they are — on the street, in a shelter, or in a temporary place.
As of March 31, 2017, close to 1,410 rent supplements are managed by service providers throughout B.C.
Women in need
- The B.C. government provides approximately $43 million annually to support nearly 840 spaces in transition and safe houses as well as second-stage housing through the Women’s Transition House and Supports program. Provincial funding ensures 24/7 staffing at all transition houses.
- From April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, the Women’s Transition Housing & Supports program enabled more than 10,920 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 than 30,260 B.C. families live in provincially-subsidized housing.
- As of March 2017, nearly 3,235 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.
- Just over 9,850 low-income working families in B.C. received monthly cash assistance through the Rental Assistance Program 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 the Rental Assistance Program.
- Nearly 53,640 seniors’ households across British Columbia receive support for housing, including more than 20,785 in independent social housing.
- We fund more than 11,220 assisted living and supported seniors’ units to help seniors remain in their communities, close to family and friends.
- We 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).
- As of March 2017, nearly 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.
- 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 with home modifications for accessible, safe and independent living.
- 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 age 60 or over and who rent their homes. Close to 21,500 seniors’ households in B.C. received SAFER benefits as of March 31, 2017.
Housing and supports for Indigenous Peoples
- Commencing in 2012, the B.C. government has transferred administration responsibilities of approximately 4,370 units of social housing operated by Aboriginal Housing Providers to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association as of March 2017.
- Approximately 280 additional units dedicated to supporting Indigenous Peoples are in development or under construction as of March 2017.
- Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Program (AHOP) teams provide support in 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
- Close to 34,550 new homes were enrolled with Home Warranty Insurance in 2016/17. These include:
- 21,635 multi-unit building homes;
- Nearly 11,680 single detached homes, and;
- Approximately 1,235 duplexes
- During the 2016/17 year, 1,930 Owner Builder Authorizations were issued, allowing people to directly manage the construction of their homes
- As of March 31, 2017, there are close to 6,730 licensed residential builders in B.C.