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Municipal Affairs and Housing

Government acting to protect province’s most vulnerable during COVID-19 crisis

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Municipal Affairs and Housing

Government acting to protect province’s most vulnerable during COVID-19 crisis

Media Contacts
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Media Relations
250 880-2153
(flickr.com)
Media Contacts
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Media Relations
250 880-2153

Backgrounders

Province taking action to support B.C.’s most vulnerable

The B.C. government’s priority is people’s health, safety and housing security.

The Province is working with the provincial health officer, local health authorities, housing partners and the non-profit and private sectors to develop and implement plans for vulnerable people, including people experiencing homelessness.

Specific actions to date include:

Supporting vulnerable tenants facing a loss of income

  • Placing a moratorium on evictions of tenants for non-payment of rent in BC Housing’s directly-managed homes, and working with partners to implement the same in subsidized and affordable housing during the outbreak.
  • Working with housing providers to streamline the process to apply for rent reductions for those tenants in BC Housing supported buildings who have lost income as a result of COVID-19, including removing the requirement for proof that income reductions are permanent and making changes to the process to support social distancing.

Responding to growing food-insecurity among vulnerable populations

  • Arranging food-delivery service, starting next week, for tenants in subsidized and affordable housing in the Lower Mainland experiencing food security challenges. This will be replicated in other regions if required.
  • Setting up central storage space for frozen meals to be distributed to housing providers if required.

Supporting providers in responding to the crisis

  • Sourcing cleaning and personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, centrally for distribution to meet the needs of frontline workers in the housing sector.
  • Supporting non-profit housing and shelter providers to meet the unique challenges of responding to this crisis though webinars for housing and shelter providers to share information, best practices and tools, in partnership with regional health authorities.
  • Supporting shelter operators, supportive housing buildings and SROs with funding for COVID-19 related costs, such as staffing and additional cleaning supplies.

Ensuring safe shelter for vulnerable people

  • Conducting a provincewide inventory and identifying sites available in 16 communities for accommodating vulnerable populations, including those in need of spaces for self-isolation.
  • Responding to the increased risk of violence against women and children that can occur as a result of social distancing by accommodating women and children fleeing violence in hotel rooms on as-needed basis.
  • Identifying more than 1,000 modular homes that are ready to be installed quickly if required, while coordinating with local governments and health authorities on where these resources might be best deployed.
  • Procuring sprung structures that can be set up in a matter of days in open areas to provide additional shelter if required.
  • Extending operation of temporary shelters where possible in order to maintain shelter space that would otherwise close at the end of March 2020.

Supporting agencies during this crisis

  • To ensure essential services continue, contracted service providers will continue to receive the same level of funding as they would have otherwise and are expected to continue to pay their staff and operating costs.
  • Contracted service providers experiencing increased costs due to staff shortages, increased overtime and/or increased demand as a result of COVID-19 will receive incremental funding to continue the delivery of essential services.

New task forces with municipalities around the province, health authorities, as well as housing and shelter providers, continue to work urgently to identify further needs and gaps in communities and roll out supports for vulnerable populations.

Through these actions, and with the help of the important work underway with health authorities and municipalities throughout B.C., the B.C. government and partners are coming together to take immediate action to prevent the spread of this virus.

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