Eviction Ban, $500 Monthly for Renters in BC's Pandemic Housing Plan

LETTER: Please tell us how many cases

Shortage of COVID-19 protective gear at hospitals, care homes

First of all, I would like to say that I think that you and Dr. Bonnie Henry have been showing much positive initiative coupled with compassion during the COVID 19 outbreak.

"We continue to look to the World Health Organization, and other parts of the world with major outbreaks, to learn and adapt our response here in B.C. This is informing our strategy on testing and hospitalization".

"We are actively looking at getting as much as we can", said Henry, who also mentioned using alternate supplies, but did not elaborate. "With some of the most expensive rents in the country, $500 doesn't go far enough for renters in B.C. No one should have to choose between spreading the COVID-19 virus and paying rent", Leadnow senior campaigner Claire Gallagher said in a statement.

"As well, there are additional measures in the outbreak facilities around personal protective equipment, restriction of visitors and restriction of visitors in all of our long-term care homes across the province", Henry said. "We don't know if it was related to coronavirus or not, and that is why the coroner is investigating". "We are putting in place measures now to try and control that and be more efficient and effective in how we use PPE".

Current and future evictions are officially suspended, with some exceptions.

"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 339 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 218 are in the Fraser Health region, 47 are in the Vancouver Island Health region, 46 are in the Interior Health region and nine are in the Northern Heath region".

Horgan said the province is assuming its rental supplement will see 100% pick-up, and that the province is then "working back from there" on the understanding that not everyone will need it.

As more and more people lose their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal and provincial governments are establishing grants to help support those who are experiencing financial difficulty.

"This is an fantastic thing", said Teresa Douglas, who was facing a a $50-a-month increase May 1 in the rent for the two-bedroom townhouse she and her husband rent through student housing at the University of British Columbia. Celebrations and ceremonies need to be postponed.

"We must remind ourselves that the virus can spread with minimal symptoms and that is why physical distancing, especially staying away from people at higher risk, is so critically important at this time".

Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday that the B.C. government will be offering $500 per month to help renters dealing with a loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty-five of those people are health care workers. "Together, we can make a difference".

The supplemental funds will be available through B.C. Housing for the next four months and paid directly to landlords when a tenant can not pay rent.

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