Speed Up Your BC Housing Application, Contest An Eviction, and More
Finding housing and dealing with evictions can be tough, but here are some tips to help you
#1. How do I speed up my BC Housing application?
Once you've applied to BC Housing, what happens is largely out of your hands. However, there are some steps to take which can make a difference.
Look outside the list
Before anything else, remember that the BC Housing Registry isn't the be all, end all.
Consider applying to the Section #2 or off-registry buildings. These are buildings where applicants must apply to the housing providers directly because the providers don't use the housing registry database.
Contact your MLA's office
Your MLA's office will be staffed by people who can help you with issues related to provincial government issues, of which social housing is one.
Many MLA offices are connected to a caseworker in BC Housing, who can give your case attention.
This doesn't mean they can give you any special privileges, but they can provide information about the status of your application or any factors which are holding it back.
Don't skip your supplemental
Complete the optional supplemental application form if you have circumstances that make it especially pressing for you to get housing.
BC Housing will give priority to applicants whose situation is urgent due to a health condition, domestic violence, or homelessness, and the supplemental form is where this information can be provided. You must have a third-party verify your living situation.
Cast a wide net, but not too wide
Apply for every building you’re willing and eligible to live in, but don’t apply to placements you know you won’t accept if offered: you can only turn down two offers before you’re moved back to the bottom of the list.
Finding housing is a frustrating process, but the more you stick with it, the better your chances of getting what you want.
#2. I’m being evicted but have nowhere to stay – what do I do?
BC Housing + MLA
You should complete a BC Housing application and the supplemental application to get on the waitlist for subsidized housing.
You should also consider contacting your MLA's office about your situation. As mentioned, they often have contacts within BC Housing and might be able to advocate for you in this situation.
In doing this, it's important for you to keep track of all you can in relation to your eviction - any relevant dates, names, and conversations that come up. These can prove very helpful when trying to remedy the issue.
And as always, make sure that everything has been done legally (see below on contesting an eviction).
Look into shelters and temporary housing
It's a tough step to take, but better to be prepared than unprepared. Look into shelters and temporary housing in Vancouver, where you can stay as your permanent housing situation solidifies.
#3. How do I contest an eviction notice or another issue with my landlord?
TRAC and the Residential Tenancy Branch
There are rules landlords must follow when they evict someone, and you should ensure that these were followed.
The Tenant and Resource Advisory Centre provides free legal education and advocacy for BC tenants, and can provide guidance on your case.
The Residential Tenancy Branch offers tenant-landlord dispute resolution. Ideally after receiving guidance on your situation, you can request that an RTB arbitrator looks at your case and makes a legally binding decision.
#4. I have a place but am struggling with rent – what help is there?
Rental supports exist, although a heads-up that they're very limited and eligibility's restricted, as we'll see below.
Homeless Prevention Program
If you're Indigenous, leaving the foster care system, a woman fleeing or at risk of domestic violence, or leaving the correctional or hospital system, you may also be eligible for funding from the Homeless Prevention Program.
This provides portable rent supplements and support services to individuals in identified at-risk groups facing homelessness.
Rental Assistance Program (RAP)
If you have a dependent you may qualify for the Rental Assistance Program, or RAP, which provides help with paying rent in the private market.
Sounds good, but a problem many run into is that you are NOT eligible if you receive income or disability assistance.
Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER)
If you don’t have dependents, you may qualify for the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters program. Also known as SAFER, this program provides monthly cash payments to subsidize rents for eligible BC residents who are age 60 or over.
Vancouver Rent Bank
The Vancouver Rent Bank provides assistance to eligible families and individuals who meet low-income requirements and are at risk of eviction or essential utility disconnection due to a temporary shortage of funds.
These are one-time, interest-free loans to low-income people in temporary financial crises. Advocacy and referral services are also provided.
Money you don't have to spend in other areas is money you can spend on housing. Have a look at the funding directory and other categories to find opportunities to save money on food, pet costs, transportation, and much more.
To find more community resources, click here!
-Spencer van Vloten