Housing co-ops in B-C are breathing a sigh of relief — with the federal government coming through on promised funding, and for some it wasn’t a moment too soon.
Executive Director of the Co-op Housing Federation of BC Thom Armstrong says the situation was getting dire for more than 4,000 low income households, as subsidy funding deals with the feds dried up.
He says the bulk of those agreements were set to expire next year, but some had already lapsed, including one in B.C. that ended just weeks ago.
“They were really beside themselves. They had a bit of money left over in a surplus fund that they set aside to keep those low income members in their homes while they waited for this announcement. And I imagine they’ll be celebrating tonight.”
Armstrong says Ottawa pledged $30-million in bridge funding in this year’s budget, but until now there had been no movement and panic was setting in.
But he says Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, has signaled the money is on its way, and is due to address the industry’s AGM on Saturday with the details.
“It’s a huge relief to us. We’ve been fighting this battle for the better part of five years, trying to ensure that the homes of low income members in housing coops will be safe and secure. And this federal announcement is the key to making that happen.”
Armstrong says the cash will keep the co-ops afloat until 2018, after which the funding question is being downloaded to the province, who they are already negotiating with.
“I would say we’re very hopeful, perhaps even optimistic that the province will realize that allowing 4,000 co-op households to come to the end of their rope really is just not an outcome that anyone can contemplate.”
He says the final deal may end up being some sort of cost sharing arrangement between the province and Ottawa.