Tents and other items scatter a City of Parksville lot on the Corner of Jensen Avenue and Craig Street. (Black Press Media files)

Help on way for renters amid COVID-19, B.C.’s housing minister says

More details to help renters expected from B.C. government on Monday

B.C.’s Housing Minister says that help is on the way for those worrying about their rent because of widespread layoffs due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

On Saturday, March 21, B.C. announced a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent in BC Housing-funded buildings and said it will be streamlining the application for rent reduction in response to the impact COVID-19 is having on the most vulnerable.

“While all of us are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, there is no doubt that our most vulnerable populations including the homeless and the working poor are disproportionately affected,” Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, said during a news conference with Housing Minister Selina Robinson on Saturday, March 21.

People experiencing homelessness often have higher rates of health concerns, and as a result could be at greater risk if exposed to COVID-19, the province said. For that reason, enhanced screening and cleaning protocols have been implemented at residential facilities to reduce the potential that this virus can spread within the building and beyond.

Robinson announced a number of sweeping measured to protect those who are street-entrenched or nearing homelessness.

Initial actions include a ban on evictions for non-payment of rent in BC Housing-funded buildings, the procurement of additional sites to support the possibility of isolation for street-entrenched people who test positive for COVID-19 and ensuring service providers can pay their staff and other operating costs.

Provincial officials also said it is in the process of gathering critical supplies for frontline workers, including gloves and cleaning products.

The province has also rolled out a new vulnerable population working group, it said, which will identify, assess and address the immediate challenges faced in particular by five groups: people living on the street, people experiencing homelessness living in encampments, shelter residents, tenants of private SROs and tenants in social and supportive housing buildings.

As for the rest of renters in B.C., many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, Robinson ensured that support will be coming.

“I know that many people are worried about how they are going to make ends meet, put food on the table, and pay rent,” she said, adding the ministry is working with the finance minister to create a package for those facing financial impacts from the novel coronavirus.

Many of the details around how the province will be financially supporting British Columbians during the pandemic are expected to be announced on Monday.

“No one should lose their home as a result of this pandemic,” Robinson added.

READ MORE: Trudeau promises $82B in economic supports in COVID-19 fight

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

PLACE NAMES: Kootenay, the post offices and ships

A CPR sternwheeler and two navy destroyers took the name Kootenay

West Kootenay octogenarian helping develop low-cost ventilator for COVID-19 patients

Peter Brockley is working with his doctor son, Graham, to develop the unit that could save lives

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

‘There is community’: B.C. councillor welcomes new baby into world amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is hope, there is new life’: Jason Lum

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read