Saturday, February 5, 2016

BC News

Living Proof

Is Chilliwack ready for rent refugees? 

Jean Swanson, Carnegie Community Actoin Plan



n a letter sent (Wednesday) to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), alerted the federal minister in charge of housing to the City of Vancouver's definition of social housing which can be used to exclude low income people from social housing. 


CCAP urged the federal government to require the city to use federal housing money to fund housing that homeless and very low income people can afford.


Dear Hon. Minister,

Re: Social Housing in Vancouver


We are pleased that the City of Vancouver has offered a number of sites to build social housing on and hope that the federal government will commit to funding social housing on these sites and more. 


We are writing, however, to alert you to Vancouver's definition of social housing. Except for one small area of the city, social housing in Vancouver doesn't have to have any low income people in it. This is Vancouver's social housing definition in full so you can check it out: 


Basically the definition says that social housing has to be owned by a government or non profit organization and one third of the units have to rent for up to the Housing Income Limits (HILS) defined by BC Housing.


HILs represents the income required to pay the average market rent for an appropriately sized unit in the private market. In Vancouver, the income required to afford a bachelor apartment is $36,500. This means that if an affordable rent is deemed to be 30% of a person's income, the HILs market rent for a bachelor can be up to $912 a month. $912 a month is about $300 more than a person on welfare gets, and $6 more than a person on disability gets for their entire monthly income.  


We are writing on behalf of the Carnegie Community Action Project which is extremely concerned about growing homelessness in our neighbourhood and the gentrification of SRO hotels which is causing even more homelessness. A recent report by Megaphone magazine found that homeless people have about half the life expectancy as others in our region.

We urge the federal government to require the city of Vancouver to use the housing money it gets from the federal government to build housing that homeless and very low income people can afford.



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