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SAFER Top Up in British Columbia: Tokenism?

B.C. increases monthly rent supplements for low-income seniors, offers one-time top up

B.C. seniors who qualify for the government’s rental assistance program will get a one-time top up of $430 plus an additional $110 a month in subsidies.

Amid concerns from seniors that the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) program hasn’t kept up with rising rents, B.C. is boosting the monthly rent supplement and allowing more seniors to qualify.

However, one rental advocate said without meaningful action by the B.C. NDP to rein in out of control rent, the subsidies amount to a “game of catch-up that the government loses every time.”

Seniors who qualify for SAFER will get a one-time top up of $430 plus an additional $110 a month in rental subsidies, Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced Tuesday morning. The increased monthly payment means the average subsidy for existing SAFER clients will be $310 a month, Kahlon said.

“This will take us a step forward to addressing the critical challenge of affordability that many seniors are facing,” he said during a news conference at the legislature.

Seniors already enrolled in the program don’t have to apply for the one-time top up, which will be automatically applied to their April payment.

More seniors will qualify for the program since the income threshold is being raised from $33,000 to $37,240. The government estimates an additional 4,800 seniors will qualify for the program.

“We don’t think this goes far enough,” said B.C. Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau, who is calling on the government to increase the threshold to $45,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a couple.

Furstenau slammed the government for falling back on one-time payments instead of putting in measures like vacancy control that would tie rental caps to the unit instead of the tenant to prevent landlords from hiking the rent after someone moves out. Kahlon has repeatedly ruled out such a move.

From The Vancouver Sun, Katie DeRosa Published Apr 09, 2024

Read Full Article in The Vancouver Sun Here...

Carole Fawcett was contacted by The Vancouver Sun and made the following observations:

  • It was good for the NDP provincial government to acknowledge that many seniors are low income and need assistance
  • One time top up = Tokenism?The government seems to be consistently playing catch up while seniors struggle

Find Out More about SAFER on the Government of BC website:

Check out the Seniors Tin Cup LINKS page for additional important links for Seniors and their supporters

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