An overview of some of the housing programs and initiatives delivered by BC Housing during the fiscal year.
Developing affordable housing
In 2019/20, BC Housing’s expenditures totaled about $1.192 billion. 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, 113,183 households were assisted, an increase of over 2,700 from the previous year.
In 2017, the Government of British Columbia announced the Rapid Response to Homelessness program as an immediate response to homelessness across the province. The Province committed $291 million over two years to build 2,000 modular supportive housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. In addition, $170 million was committed over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services for residents. By end of 2019/20, 37 modular supportive housing developments, representing about 1,780 units, were operating across the province.
Last year, we created over 3,200 new affordable housing units in over 90 communities across the province. This includes close to 32 new rent supplements provided through the Homeless Prevention Program (HPP), which started in 2014.
Following the success of the Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the Province launched the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, Indigenous Housing Fund, Supportive Housing Fund and Women’s transition Housing Fund as part of Budget 2018-19. Building BC represents an investment of about 4.3 billion over 10 years to deliver an additional 20,100 new homes. To learn more about the initiatives under Building BC, visit our webpage: https://www.bchousing.org/projects-partners/Building-BC
Housing in development or under construction
As of March 31, 2020, more than an additional 9,614 housing units were in development or under construction.
As of March 31, 2020, BC Housing subsidized over 17,600 shelter spaces, housing units and rent supplements for those experiencing, or most at risk of experiencing, homelessness. This included:
- More than 11,500 supportive and transitional housing units.
- Over 2,200 shelter spaces (2,086 of these through the Emergency Shelter Program).
- Eighty-two 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 1,954 temporary shelter spaces were available at some point in 2019/20 in thirty-three 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.
- As of March 31, 2020, the Province funded more than 918 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.
- Over 3,800 rent supplements for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness.
- Over 1,740 of these through the Homeless Outreach Program.
- More than 1,700 of these through the Homeless Prevention Program.
- We partnered with 12 B.C. communities to build over 680 new supportive housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. About 140 of these units are in the Capital Regional District.
- 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.
See community benefits of supportive housing: https://www.bchousing.org/research-centre/library/community-acceptance/community-benefits-supportive-housing
Homeless Prevention Program (HPP)
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, 2020, more than 1,700 HPP rent supplements are managed by service providers in over 50 communities across B.C.
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, 2020, just over 1,740 rent supplements are managed by service providers throughout B.C.
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 2019-20, over 1,185 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.
Learn more about the Women's Transition House and Supports Program outcomes.
- More than 29,000 B.C. families live in provincially-subsidized housing.
- As of March 2020, over 1,400 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 9,170 low-income working families in B.C. received monthly cash assistance through the Rental Assistance Program to help pay their rent as of March 31, 2020.
- About 6,420 (about 70 per cent) of these are female-led, single-parent households.
- Over 53,300 seniors’ households across British Columbia receive support for housing, including more than 20,580 in independent social housing.
- We fund more than 10,700 assisted living and supportive seniors’ units to help seniors remain in their communities, close to family and friends.
- We completed about 1,280 units of affordable rental housing for seniors in smaller communities throughout B.C. (Seniors Rental Housing).
- As of March 2020, nearly 1,180 additional affordable housing units for low-income seniors and another 947 units for supportive 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 2019-2020, the HAFI program provided an average of $11,945 financial assistance per household to help more than 390 low-income seniors and people with disabilities with home modifications for accessible, safe, and independent living. This program closed in 2020.
- 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.
- Approximately 27,060 seniors’ households in B.C. received SAFER benefits as of March 31, 2020.
Housing and supports for Indigenous Peoples
- Commencing in 2012, the B.C. government has transferred administration responsibilities of approximately 5,150 units of social housing operated by Indigenous Housing Providers to the Aboriginal Housing Management Association as of March 2020.
- About 384 additional units dedicated to supporting Indigenous Peoples are in development or under construction 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
- Over 28,270 new homes were enrolled with home warranty insurance in 2019/20. These include:
- About 18,880 multi-unit building homes
- Nearly 8,070 single detached homes
- Approximately 1,330 duplexes
- During the 2019/20-year, 977 Owner Builder Authorizations were issued, allowing people to directly manage the construction of their homes.
- As of March 31, 2020, there are 7,488 licensed residential builders in B.C.