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Co-op Housing Federation warning about looming crisis

The Co-op Housing Federation of BC's campaign is called "You Hold the Key"

BURNABY (NEWS1130) – As if housing and rent prices weren’t already at a premium in the Lower Mainland, another crisis is looming for some low-income families, as housing co-ops slowly lose their subsidies.

The co-ops get annual funding as per agreements signed 30 to 40 years ago, and between now and 2017, contracts are about to expire for one quarter of BC co-ops.

Fiona Jackson with the Co-op Housing Federation of BC says that leaves co-ops with limited ability to help those who now get rent subsidies.

“Co-ops might have good intentions to try to continue to support their lower income members. But these buildings are often 35 years old, right around the time that a roof might have to be replaced. So the co-op might not be able to maintain a sliding scale for rent and things like that.”

She says another level of government has to step in.

“We have a campaign right now to say to the provincial government ‘Why can’t you step up and find a replacement for these subsidies, for the rent supplement program?’ That way no one has to leave their home, and has to look for other housing by joining long wait lists.”

The federation estimates that over the next three years, 1,500 BC households will lose their co-op subsidies, and most of those households represent seniors and single parents.

Tenants in co-op housing are not eligible to apply for the province’s rental subsidy program.