February 28th, 2008

Rent subsidy eligibility boosted: Critics say lack of housing the real issue in Victoria
The province hopes to offer a rent break to more working families by raising the income threshold on B.C. Housing’s Rental Assistance Program to $35,000, Housing Minister Rich Coleman says. But the opposition is calling the move, which comes just one year after the threshold was raised to $28,000 from $20,000, a signal that the program isn’t working. Coleman said the change is being made in an effort to increase the number of families receiving the aid from the current 4,400 to as many as 20,000. “Wherever they live they can actually get a subsidy to offset their rent, without us having to build social housing for them,” he said. That approach is fatally flawed, when the rental vacancy rate in most of the province is running at less than one per cent, and 0.2 per cent in Greater Victoria, said Rob Fleming, New Democrat MLA for Victoria-Hillside.