An overview of some of the housing programs and initiatives delivered by BC Housing during the fiscal year.
Developing affordable housing
In 2018/19, BC Housing’s expenditures totaled $1.247 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, 110,465 households were assisted, an increase of over 3,000 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 2018/19, 28 modular supportive housing developments, representing about 1,400 units, were operating across the province.
Last year, we created over 4,000 new affordable housing units in about 50 communities across the province. This includes close to 12 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, 2019, more than an additional 14,730 housing units were in development or under construction.
As of March 31, 2019, BC Housing subsidized over 17,000 shelter spaces, housing units and rent supplements for those experiencing, or most at risk of experiencing, homelessness. This included:
- More than 11,200 supportive and transitional housing units.
- About 2,090 shelter spaces (1,904 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 1,634 temporary shelter spaces were available at some point in 2018/19 in thirty 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, 2019, the Province funded more than 917 extreme weather response shelter spaces providing additional support to about 52 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 3,750 rent supplements for those experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness.
- Over 1,660 of these through the Homeless Outreach/Aboriginal Homeless Outreach Programs.
- More than 1,700 of these through the Homeless Prevention Program.
- We partnered with 20 B.C. communities to build more than 1,150 new supportive housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. About 300 of these units are in Metro Vancouver.
- Outreach teams provide support to about 82 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).
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, 2019, more than 1,700 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, 2019, just over 1,700 rent supplements are managed by service providers throughout B.C.
Women in need
- The B.C. government provided approximately $39 million in 2018-19 to support over 875 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 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 than 29,420 B.C. families live in provincially-subsidized housing.
- As of March 2019, about 9,210 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 9,420 low-income working families in B.C. received monthly cash assistance through the Rental Assistance Program to help pay their rent.
- Nearly 6,490 (about 70 per cent) of these are female-led, single-parent households.
- Since program inception, about 42,4230 households have received a subsidy through the Rental Assistance Program.
- Over 54,850 seniors’ households across British Columbia receive support for housing, including more than 20,090 in independent social housing.
- We fund more than 10,410 assisted living and supportive seniors’ units to help seniors remain in their communities, close to family and friends.
- We completed nearly 460 units of affordable rental housing for seniors in smaller communities throughout B.C. (Seniors Rental Housing).
- As of March 2019, nearly 1,850 additional affordable housing units for low-income seniors and another 1,373 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 2108-2019, the HAFI program provided an average of $14,700 financial assistance per household to help more than 350 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.
- Approximately 24, 350 seniors’ households in B.C. received SAFER benefits as of March 31, 2019.
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 2019.
- About 1,805 additional units dedicated to supporting Indigenous Peoples are in development or under construction as of March 2019.
- 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
- Over 36,870 new homes were enrolled with home warranty insurance in 2018/19. These include:
- 26,001 multi-unit building homes
- Nearly 9,530 single detached homes
- Approximately 1,350 duplexes
- During the 2018/19-year, 1,086 Owner Builder Authorizations were issued, allowing people to directly manage the construction of their homes.
- As of March 31, 2019, there are 7,630 licensed residential builders in B.C.