If elected, what specifically will your party do to support an expanded inventory of affordable rental housing options for Metro Vancouver region?
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.
If elected, what specifically will your party do to support the recommendations included in the Regional Homelessness Task Force Position Paper?
Together with our partners, Today’s BC Liberal government invested more than $375 million in Metro Vancouver last year to provide affordable housing and rent supplements, helping more than 61,000 individuals and families. This includes over $138 million for emergency shelters and housing for those who are homeless. Throughout the region we have hard-working outreach teams connecting those who are homeless with housing and assistance to help them stabilize their lives, including access to mental health and addiction services. To support this endeavor, funding for supportive housing, rent supplements and outreach services has more than doubled since 2011, totaling $89 million annually. In the past year, we have committed $136 million in additional funding to construct and renovate 1,800 units of affordable rental housing in Metro Vancouver, and we will continue to partner with local governments and our federal counterparts to build on these achievements.
Addressing homelessness is a complex challenge – but we are making great strides with our partners to help people in our communities who need it the most.