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How to Navigate the British Columbia Housing System for Seniors

We are sharing today some guidelines to efficiently navigate the British Columbia housing system for seniors with information on its processes, eligibility requirements and accessibility.

The British Columbia housing system offers three streams of subsidized housing for seniors: Rental Assistance (known as Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters or SAFER), Supportive Housing and Subsidized Housing.

The Rental Assistance (SAFER) is a small subsidy based on your household income. You qualify for it if you pay more than 30% of your gross (before tax) monthly household income towards the rent for your home. At the same time, you will also need to meet the following criteria:

  • You are 60 years old, or older.
  • You have lived in British Columbia for the full 12 months immediately preceding your application.
  • You and your spouse (with whom you are living) meet the citizenship requirements.

You will not be eligible if you gross monthly income exceeds the following:

Greater Vancouver Regional Area Other Areas of the Province
Singles $2,550 $2,223
Couples $2,750 $2,423
Shared $1,776 $1,776

Supportive Housing offers two programs to seniors.  One is the Seniors’ Supportive Housing, which is aimed for low-income individuals who need some assistance in order to continue living independently.  

The second one is Assisted Living, which is an option between home care and residential care. It is not only offered to seniors, but also to people with disabilities who require some support without needing 24-hour institutional care.  To find out if you are eligible, you will need to be assessed by your Health Authority first. If you are accepted into  Assisted Living, you will pay 70% of your after-tax income for your unit.

Lower Mainland Southern British Columbia Vancouver Island Northern British Columbia
$58,000 $57,000 $57,000 $47,000

Also, in order to qualify you must meet the following criteria for subsidized housing for seniors. Once you know you are eligible, you can continue with your application process.

Since  subsidized housing developments for seniors have limited vacancies and long waitlists, it is best if you choose many developments to increase your chances of selection.  

The British Columbia Housing system has online listings of housing properties for seniors. These listings are broken into twelve zones which represent all the areas of British Columbia, and include important information on how to apply for each particular development.

Make sure to review the listing of the area you are interested in, and make note of the application processes for the various developments.  In some cases, you will need to apply through the British Columbia Housing Registry.  However, some properties require you to apply directly to the provider.

If you have any questions or need more detailed information on any of the processes, please visit the British Columbia Housing website.

 

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