Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help pay the rent for up to 25,000 people living in vulnerable situations.

Ahmed Hussen, federal families, children and social development minister, says the 10-year, $517-million Canada-B.C. Housing Benefit will provide financial assistance to top up monthly rent payments for those who can’t make ends meet.

Hussen told a news conference the average benefit to participants across Canada has been about $2,500 a year, but the payment amount in B.C. can be increased depending on rent costs and household circumstances.

David Eby, B.C.’s minister responsible for housing, says the benefits will be provided to households currently not eligible for the province’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters.

Eby and Hussen say the benefits are aimed at helping women fleeing family violence, Indigenous and racialized people, veterans, youth leaving care, people with disabilities and those experiencing homelessness or at risk of being homeless.

Ahmed calls the benefit a game changer that will help more people stay in their homes or find homes.

He says the federal government’s National Housing Strategy commits more than $70 billion towards affordable housing programs over 10 years.

ALSO READ: COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

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