Williams Lake area seniors or families struggling to pay rent are encouraged to see if they are eligible for existing supplement programs, said Anne Burrill, Thrive Community Poverty Reduction Project lead.
Barb Jones has been hired to help residents apply to BC Housing’s Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) or the Rental Assistant Program (RAP) and can be reached by phone at 778-267-9394, Burrill said, noting if Jones does not answer people can leave her a message.
“We want to get the word out that help is there for people to get through the application process,” Burrill said, noting funding for Jones’ position came from the Union of B.C. Municipalities poverty reduction fund that Thrive in partnership with the city applied for and received.
To qualify for SAFER seniors must be 60 years or older, pay more than 30 per cent of gross income for rent and have lived in B.C. for at least 12 months. Maximum income limits apply for eligibility as well.
For RAP, families must have at least one child, be employed or receiving EI income, pay more than 30 per cent of their gross income for rent and have a gross income of less than $40,000.
“We are working on getting as many people as possible connected with those supplements because we know there are lots of renters that could benefit from rental assistance because rents are going up,” Burrill said.
Rental rates in Williams Lake are all over the place and still climbing, she added, noting there is more demand than available units and the pressure is going to increase with upcoming projects such as the hospital expansion next year.
“Rents have gone up a lot in the last couple of years and continue to rise.”