Expanding affordable rental housing options is a priority for the BC Liberal government and we have already taken significant steps to address the challenges of a growing population in Metro Vancouver and across the Province. Since 2001, we have invested $6.3 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income British Columbians, vulnerable seniors and families. This includes recent commitments of $920 million to acquire, construct and renovate almost 5,300 rental housing units across the province in the next few years - the largest provincial housing investment in a single year in Canadian history. In Metro Vancouver, approximately 3,400 new housing units are already being developed or are under construction.
In addition to constructing and renovating new affordable housing units, Today’s BC Liberals also believe that rent supplements give low-income households more options, so British Columbians have more flexibility to choose the neighbourhood they want to live in while helping to keep housing costs within their budget.
More than 9,400 seniors households in Metro Vancouver receive Shelter Aid for Elderly Residents (SAFER) benefits. With enhanced SAFER benefits, the average monthly payment is expected to rise from $150 to $175.
We also created the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) to provide low-income working families with cash assistance to help with their monthly rent payments. More than 5,700 low-income working families in Metro Vancouver receive rent assistance to keep the cost of private market rental housing affordable.
In total, the BC Liberal government assists approximately 60,500 low income individuals, seniors and families each year in Metro Vancouver, and we look forward to the continued opportunity to address affordable rental housing challenges with our local and federal government partners to ensure affordable rental housing options continue to be expanded in the Metro Vancouver region.