British Columbia’s Rental Protection Fund aims to address one of our most pressing challenges of losing existing affordable rental homes to an escalating housing market. Earlier this year, the provincial government announced that a new $500-million fund will be managed by B.C.’s non-profit community housing organizations to help deliver safe, affordable, and culturally supportive housing for individuals and families across the province. This fund is long overdue as we are losing lower-cost rental properties to renovictions, demolitions and conversions more (and faster) than ever.

Non-profits like Housing Squamish are now working together to protect rental homes for those who need them the most. This new fund will enable non-profits, like Housing Squamish, to purchase and manage residential buildings, maintain below-market rents, and eventually build new units to ensure that more people have access to affordable housing.

How does the Rental Protection Fund work?

The Rental Protection Fund is managed by an independent, non-profit society comprising the Aboriginal Housing Management Association, B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association, and the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. These three organizations have represented the non-profit and co-operative housing sectors in the province for decades.

Through this fund, non-profits will get the capital to help them buy existing, occupied, purpose-built rental buildings to maintain their affordability. This means that when an affordable rental building goes up for sale, instead of that apartment being sold to a for-profit entity, it can be acquired by non-profit community housing providers and operated as non-profit housing for the life of the building. The goal is that the non-profit operator will eventually be able to upgrade and expand the existing properties and add more units, increasing the overall supply of non-profit housing options in our community.

How does the fund address the housing crisis?

Investors are betting on scarcity and the increasing imbalance between the number of renters and the availability of units. The goal of the fund is to protect existing affordable rental homes by bringing them under the management and oversight of non-profit housing operators and then, over time, creating the opportunity to deliver more non-profit housing for households in need.