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

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kierry Bui. The family says they are relieved the trial process has come to close Monday morning with Tenessa Nikirk found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sentencing begins for Peninsula woman convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Victoria police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Victoria police are looking for high-risk offender Douglas McPherson. (Courtesy of VicPD)
High-risk parolee with history of bank robbery believed to be in Victoria

Police ask for public’s help locating 64-year-old parolee

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest suspect in Saanich liquor store break and enters

Windowpane removal key component in string of thefts

Nicole Abbott and her 10-month-old daughter, Ophelia, shown here at the Metchosin Fire Hall for the Halloween events last year. Residents are invited to a drive-through version this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore fire halls take pandemic-safe approach to Halloween

One spooky lane among three drive-thru features by firefighters

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

A view from the deck of a home in SookePoint. The property is a prize in the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery. Tickets are on sale now. (Contributed photo)
Millionaire Lottery home up for grabs in Sooke

Sooke prize home part of latest VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

Most Read