VANCOUVER -- B.C. released its budget for 2021-2022 on Tuesday and there was no sign of the $400 annual renter’s rebate Premier John Horgan promised during the provincial election last year.
That rebate, for households with an income of up to $80,000 a year, is still something the government is working towards, Finance Minister Selina Robinson said.
“I think it’s safe to say that affordability has worsened during the pandemic,” housing advocate Jill Atkey said Tuesday. She’s the CEO of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association.
Atkey says that while the subsidy hasn’t materialized this budget, there is help available for those in transition to more stable homes -- and that’s what’s needed right now.
“It’s a stay-the-course budget on housing, but I think we can all recognize that the course has changed because of the pandemic.”
The budget does promise more affordable housing, however, with $80 million set aside to fund the housing affordability plan and to deliver 114,000 affordable homes.
The province has also promised $2 billion in development funding through Housing Hub, which it says will help create 9,000 new homes for “middle-income families over the next three to five years.”
The projected budget deficit for the last fiscal year was originally expected to be $13.6 billion, but is now $8.1 billion, in part due to the continued resilience of the housing market and money gained from the property transfer tax.
“So far, the province has taken steps on more than half of the actions in the plan to build the homes that people need, crack down on tax fraud, close loopholes, help stabilize the real estate market and build partnerships for affordability in every B.C. community,” budget documents say.