An overview of some of the housing programs and initiatives delivered by BC Housing during the fiscal year.
Developing affordable housing
In 2017/18, BC Housing’s expenditures totalled $782.1 million. Services to improve housing options for British Columbians ranged from housing supports for the most vulnerable, affordable rental housing options for low income families and seniors, assistance towards home ownership, as well as consumer protection and improved quality of residential construction in the private market. In total, 107,205 households were assisted, an increase of over 2,000 from the previous year.
In 2017/18, new funding was provided by the Province through the Housing Priority Initiatives Special Account for the first 1,000 modular units of supportive housing under the Rapid Response to Homelessness program and 1,700 housing units under the Affordable Rental Housing program.
Last year, we created about 3,000 new affordable housing units in approximately 35 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 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 2018, more than 1,700 home loans were approved and funded in 169 communities across the province.
Housing in development or under construction
As of March 31, 2018, more than an additional 7,120 housing units were in development or under construction.
As of March 31, 2018, BC Housing subsidizes over 15,220 shelter spaces, housing units and rent supplements for those experiencing, or most at risk of experiencing, homelessness. This included:
- More than 9,460 supportive and transitional housing units.
- About 2,060 shelter spaces (1,843 of these through the Emergency Shelter Program).
- Eighty-six percent of the year-round (permanent) shelters funded under ESP program are available 24/7 and provide at least one meal a day
- An additional 485 temporary shelter spaces were available at some point in 2017/18 year in eight communities in B.C. 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.
- Last winter, the B.C. government provided close to 835 winter response shelter spaces during the winter season, November 1 to March 31. These shelters are typically open overnight.
- As of March 31, 2018, the Province funded more than 858 extreme weather response shelter spaces providing additional support to about 50 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 3,700 rent supplements for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness.
- About 1,610 of these through the Homeless Outreach/Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Programs.
- More than 1,690 of these through the Homeless Prevention Program.
- We partnered with 16 B.C. communities to build more than 900 new supportive housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Close to 400 of these units are in Vancouver.
- Outreach teams provide support to about 90 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
- Individuals of Indigenous descent
As of March 31, 2018, more than 1,690 HPP rent supplements are managed by service providers in over 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, 2018, just over 1,600 rent supplements are managed by service providers throughout B.C.
Women in need
- The B.C. government provided approximately $37 million in 2017-18 to support over 860 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, 2017 to March 31, 2018, the Women’s Transition Housing & Supports program enabled more than 11,620 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 29,420 B.C. families live in provincially-subsidized housing.
- As of March 2018, about 3,250 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 $40,000 annually with cash assistance towards rent in the private market.
- Just over 9,640 low-income working families in B.C. received monthly cash assistance through the Rental Assistance Program to help pay their rent.
- Nearly 6,690 (about 70 per cent) of these are female-led, single-parent households.
- Since program inception, more than 39,430 unique households have received a subsidy through the Rental Assistance Program.
- Nearly 53,720 seniors’ households across British Columbia receive support for housing, including more than 20,150 in independent social housing.
- We fund more than 10,550 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 2018, nearly 1,980 additional affordable housing units for low-income seniors and close to another 625 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. In 2107-2018, the HAFI program provided an average of $13,000 financial assistance per household to help more than 420 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 aged 60 or over and who rent their homes.
- More than 23,000 seniors’ households in B.C. received SAFER benefits as of March 31, 2018.
Housing and supports for Indigenous Peoples
- Commencing in 2012, the B.C. government has transferred administration responsibilities of approximately 4,490 units of social housing operated by Indigenous Housing Providers to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association as of March 2018.
- Approximately 708 additional units dedicated to supporting Indigenous Peoples are in development or under construction as of March 2018.
- 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 34,850 new homes were enrolled with home warranty insurance in 2017/18. These include:
- 21,793 multi-unit building homes
- Nearly 11,650 single detached homes
- Approximately 1,410 duplexes
- During the 2017/18 year, 1,200 Owner Builder Authorizations were issued, allowing people to directly manage the construction of their homes.
- As of March 31, 2018, there are close to 7,038 licensed residential builders in B.C.