BC residents living in subsidized housing and social housing buildings will be given a temporary reprieve from a scenario that leads them to being evicted.
A memorandum issued to non-profit housing operators this week from BC Housing mandates a moratorium on evictions until further notice amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The provincial housing agency reasons that tenants of such rental buildings are low-income households who would be particularly vulnerable to the direct and indirect impacts of the rapidly growing crisis.
“Tenants in many subsidized and affordable rental buildings are low income households who, if evicted, would likely experience difficulties obtaining housing either in alternate affordable housing or in the private market,” reads the memorandum, noting that evictions would likely place a greater burden on other social services.
“Many tenants in subsidized housing are particularly vulnerable and face a combination of challenges in addition to their need for housing… This is particularly true at this time, in light of the current COVID-19 situation.”
For situations that normally result in eviction, specifically poor behaviour that risks other tenants and staff, non-profit housing operators are being asked to consider all circumstances, including increased restrictions on alternative housing and temporary shelter access due to coronavirus.
Additionally, BC Housing is offering temporary rent adjustments for rent-geared-to-income tenants, who can apply for a rent re-calculation as a result of loss of employment income. This includes the possibility for rent reduction over a three-month period beginning April 1.
Over the past two weeks, mass layoffs from business closures and reduced hourly wages for both full-time and part-time positions have created much uncertainty for many households living paycheque to paycheque.
The City of Vancouver wants the provincial government to a step further by temporarily banning all rental housing evictions as a result of lost income from pandemic-related closures.
The federal government has already announced an $82-billion relief package, including $27 billion in direct support for workers and businesses, and $55 billion in tax deferrals for businesses and households.
More measures are expected to be announced by the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government.
As well, Canada’s largest banks have already provided interim mortgage deferral relief for homeowners.