Finally! The Online Calculator for the Rental Assistance Program is Launched

Date
20 December 2021

The first year under the Rental Assistance Program (FCHI-2) has been a hard slog for housing co-ops. The program came together while you were using it, resulting in months of frustration as one change followed another. We can only thank you for your patience. We finally have good news to offer.

Agency clients now in the Rental Assistance Program will soon find it much easier to calculate assisted charges, track their total use of assistance and submit their year-end reconciliation. Version 1 of our new Online Calculator will make a real difference in the workload of your staff. Version 2, due in the new year, will make even more.

Limited launch of Version 1 of the Calculator in December

As you know, the web-based system we have built will replace CMHC’s Excel Worksheets. In December, we are inviting some property management firms to start using our Version 1 of the Online Calculator. We plan to have a full release in the new year for all our rental assistance clients. Although these worksheets are helpful tools, they have limitations. We think you will prefer the Online Calculator. Here are a few of its advantages.

  • The Calculator allows you to print summary sheets for each unit, which you can use to notify assisted members about their new housing charge.
  • You will need to enter basic information into the Calculator just once, rather than every time something changes. When you’ve set up the Calculator with unit addresses and any services included in the housing charge, the system remembers. After that, you’ll only need to enter the changes.
  • The system provides a monthly report that your bookkeeper can reconcile against your co-op’s books.
  • After six months, if you find you are spending more on subsidies, under program rules, than you receive, you can let the Agency know. Instead of drawing on operating funds for subsidies while you wait for a year-end assessment, your co-op can have the Agency ask CMHC for a mid-year increase in your monthly payment. Because we have your information online, you won’t have to justify your request by completing the Excel worksheet.
  • Year-end filing will be simple because your information for each month is already in the system.

The Calculator was tested through an unusual pilot project. Our staff keyed in the data already filed on Excel spreadsheets by the first co‑ops to join the program. This process allowed us to review our system thoroughly. It also ensured that these pioneering co-ops would find their data already in place. The Agency will send them to you to review for keyboarding errors and accept, when correct.

You will be invited to sign up for an online seminar that will introduce you the Calculator. Stay tuned for more details!

Arrears Cost

Half the Agency's clients have member arrears and bad debts below $44 a unit, and half above. In 2007, the midpoint was $86. Great news in a challenging year.