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

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

A group of Penticton residents have planned a protest Friday, March 5, 2020 at Gyro Park to voice their concerns over city council’s refusal to allow a temporary winter shelter to stay open. (Google Maps photo)
Penticton protest to go on despite police warning

Desiree Franz says she’s willing to accept the risk of being fined by RCMP

Penticton Fire Chief Larry Watkinson at the controls of the new Penticton Fire Rescue boat on Skaha Lake Friday afternoon. Firefighter Austin Conquergood is on one of the department's two personal watercraft.
Mark Brett/Western News
Kayaker rescued from Okanagan Lake after falling in and calling 911

The Penticton Fire Department’s Marine Rescue pulled him out suffering from severe cold

Thomas Kruger-Allen is expected to be sentenced Friday, March 5, 2021.
Sentencing expected Friday for 2019 Penticton beach attack

Defense wants 12 to 18 months for beach assaults that left one of his victims with brain injury

Penticton’s MLA and former mayor Dan Ashton is speaking out on recent events that have transpired in the city. (Contributed)
Penticton MLA, former mayor concerned over recent events

Communication breakdown between mayor and housing minister, funding cut at addictions centre cause for concern, says MLA

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Riverside Centre includes a theatre hosting local plays, visiting musicians and dance troupes. It is also used for community events such as public meetings and fundraisers. Photo Town of Princeton
COVID-19 numbers provided by Interior Health show Salmon Arm and Revelstoke in the 200-plus range from January 2020 to February 2021 while Vernon, with a larger population, tallied more than 600 over the 14 months. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
14 months of COVID-19 data show Kamloops cases doubling Vernon’s

Jan. 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021: 605 cases reported for Vernon, 243 for Salmon Arm, 1,246 for Kamloops

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s general manager Dan Proulx, left, hosted a virtual Official Opposition town hall meeting with Shadow Cabinet Minister Small Business Pat Kelly, right, and North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold March 3, 2021. (Screenshot)
Tourism key to business recovery in North Okanagan-Shuswap: MP

Easing travel restrictions, limiting taxation and debt management critical to COVID-19 economic recovery

(BCCDC)
42 cases of COVID-19 in the Central Okanagan last week

Officials have identified almost 3,000 cases of the virus in the Central Okanagan throughout the pandemic

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Most Read