Households with $100,000 assets could be eligible for subsidized Metro Vancouver housing

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      Households with assets of up to $100,000 may soon be able to live in subsidized housing provided by the Metro Vancouver regional district.

      The Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (MVHC) has received a revised tenant selection policy that includes a change to the eligibility of residents.

      At present, households with assets of no more than $25,000 can qualify for rent-geared-to-income housing.

      Rent-geared-to-income housing is a type of subsidized housing where rent is calculated based on the tenant’s income.

      Rent-geared-to-income rates are set to 30 percent of a tenant’s gross annual household income before taxes.

      The proposed new tenant selection policy raises the maximum asset ceiling from the current $25,000 to $100,000.

      The new maximum asset ceiling will apply for both rent-geared-to-income and low-end-of-market housing.

      Low-end-of-market housing is a type of subsidized housing where rent is calculated based on market rental conditions.

      For Metro Vancouver housing, low-end-of-market rates are generally set between 10 percent to 20 percent below market rental rates.

      The revised tenant selection policy is the subject of a report to the MVHC by Laurel Cowan, program manager for housing policy and planning.

      “Increasing the asset limit will better support tenants to save money, encouraging those who are able to transition towards market housing, while regular asset and income testing will ensure that rental subsidy goes to those who need it most,” Cowan wrote.

      Cowan also stated that the proposed asset ceiling will align with that of B.C. Housing.

      A Metro Vancouver document about its housing policy notes that B.C. Housing introduced a $100,000 asset limit for the provincial body’s buildings in 2009.

      Cowan’s report recommends approval by the MVHC of the new tenant selection policy.

      “Priority will be given to applicants with lower household assets,” Cowan wrote.

      The MVHC meets Friday (February 28).

      The proposed tenant selection policy defines assets to include:

      • Funds held in a financial institution, including banks, trust companies, and the like.
      • Stocks, bonds, and exchange-traded funds.
      • Cash and other items of a potential income earning nature.
      • Equity in real property.
      • Equity in a business, including cash, GICs (guaranteed investment certificates), bonds, stocks, equity in real estate, or equity in any other tangible asset.
      • Items of personal property valued over $10,000.

      Assets that are excluded include:

      • Bursaries or scholarships from educational institutions for any household member that is a current student.
      • Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), and Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs).
      • Trade and business tools essential to continue currently active employment, such as equipment, tools, and business use vehicles.
      • Assets derived from compensatory packages from government, for example, Indian Residential Schools Settlements and Japanese Canadian Redress.
      • Interest in Discretionary Trusts.