Co-ops will see their current operating agreements replaced with new ones in 2020. (Submitted photo)

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

The organization that represents co-op housing in B.C. is one of many groups praising the federal government’s new housing strategy, saying the incoming funding will help keep co-ops alive.

The federal subsidy for co-operative housing across the country is set to expire in 2019, affecting some 35,000-40,000 households in B.C.

“We would have been happier if the details had been provided, but the commitment seems firm,” said Thom Armstrong, executive director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. “That will end the insecurity and anxiety that all those households have been feeling.”

The strategy, announced on Wednesday, promises $40 billion over 10 years.

READ: Feds plan to spend billions on housing strategy

Not all of the funding, which will be a combination of provincial and federal cash, is new, but it will pay to repair 300,000 affordable homes, help 385,000 homes stay affordable, get 530,000 families into homes they can afford, and provide 300,000 homes with financial assistance through Canada Housing Benefits.

“As long as the feds put in the money that they have committed to under the budget, and as long as the province supplements it with the money they promised during the provincial election campaign, we should be fine,” said Armstrong.

“I know those are two big ifs, but the commitment’s been made publicly so it would be pretty hard for them to back away from it now.”

Welcoming Ottawa’s announcement, Premier John Horgan said he expects to see more “hopeful signs” not just about new housing, but reinvigorating old housing, when more details are released.

Armstrong doubts the new agreement with co-ops, expected in 2020, will look much like the current operating agreements.

“Now, for at least the bulk of the co-ops, it’s the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation writing them a cheque every month and they redistribute it among their members,” he said. But that formula isn’t based on rent or income.

“It is a bit bizarre,” Armstrong said.

The more likely approach, he said, is that the CMHC would send the money directly to the province, which would then add their own subsidy and then deliver it to the co-ops.

The process could be modelled on an existing rent supplement that some co-ops receive through BC Housing.

“B.C. is in a much better position than, say, Ontario, where there isn’t a central coordinating provincial body,” Armstrong said.

BC Housing works as a centralized system that already delivers income assistance to some co-ops, he said, to fill the gap between the 30 per cent of their incomes that renters pay and the co-op’s break-even point.

“Until that permanent solution is in place, the existing agreements will just be extended,” said Armstrong. “The money that is flowing now will continue to flow.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Merville wildlife rescue centre sees 9 poisoned birds since January

MARS trying to fundraise for ‘rigorous and expensive’ lead poisoning treatment

One woman arrested after pair of armed robberies in Campbell River

Police still looking to speak with anyone who was around downtown Chevron Sunday night

VIDEO: Convoy of forest industry supporters on its way to Victoria

Rally at the B.C. legislature begins with participants setting off from Campbell River

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Original Victoria Clipper vessel sails one last time

Vessel sold to buyers in Gabon, Central Africa

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Two new hybrid BC Ferries ships christened with new names in Victoria ceremony

Island Aurora and Island Discovery will service Gulf Island and North Island routes

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

Most Read