Calling all community partners across BC!
The Delta Poverty Reduction Action Table is asking you to join their Homes for All Campaign to help advocate for better rental supports for individuals with varying abilities across BC.
Income security for individuals and families is key to maintaining strong, healthy communities. Yet most single adults with varying abilities are stuck in a cycle of lifelong poverty and dependence on friends and relatives for basic living needs. Adults living on BC’s Persons with Disability (PWD) benefits are often forced to choose between safe housing, adequate nutrition and basic health care.
5, 000 people with developmental disabilities are looking for homes in BC. These residents are often left out of the equation when considering how to improve access to affordable housing. We can see by the financial realities listed below that SINGLE individuals are facing further inequities in accessing financial supports for housing.
- Single Canadians with a monthly income of $2, 104.33/month are considered to be living on the poverty line in Canada.
- The monthly BC financial assistance program that includes support allowance and shelter allowance for single Canadians with varying abilities on disability assistance is roughly $1, 483.50.
- Only a portion of those monthly supports can be used towards housing. This is known as a shelter allowance,
- As of August 2023, the maximum shelter allowance that can be received is $500 /month. This includes a recent $125 increase – the first in 16 years.
- Market level rents in BC grew 3.5% from July -August 2023.The average studio now costs $1, 948/month.
- The Canada-BC Benefit (CBCHB) is not available to people who live in BC Housings subsidized units.
- Single Canadians with varying abilities are unable to stack their benefits in order to have the financial means to secure market rental housing.
Identified Financial Gaps in Supports:
BC Housing’s Rental Assistance Program (RAP) provides eligible low-income working families with monthly assistance to help with their monthly rent payments. However, single persons who qualify for PWD are not eligible for this critical support.
In 2022, Delta submitted the following UBCM Resolution to address this issue: “That the provincial government review the eligibility criteria for rental assistance, and implement changes that would qualify single people with diverse abilities for financial support.”
Provincial Response: A resolution to support increased shelter rate assistance as well as rental assistance for housing cooperatives has been endorsed and changing the criteria for RAP will not be considered.
$125 monthly increase in shelter allowance (From $375 to $500) is not sufficient to secure housing during a nation-wide housing affordability crisis. Especially with BC being rated one of the most expensive provinces for rentals in Canada.
PWD’s are unable to stack benefits in order to achieve housing security.
Call to Action:
Waitlists for BC housing are years long. People need housing now and we are calling on the Province to:
- Expand the Rental Assistance Program criteria to include single persons with varying abilities.
- Increase the shelter allowance rates further to reflect the amount needed to rent in BC.
- Institute changes that permit the stacking of benefits for all persons with disabilities, to ensure their housing security
Write Your MLA, The Premier, and Key Ministers with the template provided:
- Premier David Eby: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Sheila Malcolmson: SDPR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
- Finance Minister Katrine Conroy: FIN.Minister@gov.bc.ca
- Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon: HOUS.email@example.com
- Find the email of your MLA here
A message from Delta Housing Be Mine Society
In Delta BC, people with varying abilities, particularly people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mostly want to live independently like other adults. The lack of available housing presents a huge barrier that puts this population at risk of homelessness. While financial access to housing is key, there is also a lack of units to choose from. There is a need to develop inclusive housing which is built on the following concepts: Choice, affordability, sustainability, accessibility and a ratio of people with and without disabilities. To learn more about inclusive housing please visit: Advocacy and Public Policy for Housing Solutions (deltahbms.com)