Here Comes the New Rental Assistance Program!

30 January 2020

This March, more than a hundred Agency clients will see their operating agreements expire along with their last payment of income-tested assistance. Just in time, with a start date of April 1, 2020. CMHC’s new FCHI Phase 2 Rental Assistance program will then take off. Co-ops that are eligible for this new program can expect to hear from CMHC six months before their assistance ends.

If your co-op is part of the first expiring wave, your board has already confirmed interest in the new program. Here at the Agency, we’re as eager as anyone else to learn the final details about how the program will work. At this point, here’s what we know:

The Agreements

In early February, CMHC will send the first agreements to the groups that expressed interest. The agreement sets out the rules of the program and tells you how much subsidy your co-op will receive. Your co-op’s maximum amount of assistance will be based on the information you provided in the Annex form. As a reminder, the Annex form you sent to CMHC asked you how many households your co-op is currently assisting and whether any others would qualify for rental assistance, if it were available. While CMHC will set an annual amount of assistance for each co-op, the funds will be released on a monthly basis.

How will the new program work?

A reference guide from CMHC will be available on the government website when the agreements are issued. As of now, we know that each co-op will set minimum rents at no less than twenty-five (25) per cent of their own full housing charges. However, you will have the flexibility to charge anywhere from 25 to 30 per cent, taking care to manage the total assistance so that it doesn’t exceed your maximum funding for the year. Once the ratio is set, you will need to apply it consistently across all assisted households under this new program. 

In mid-February, CMHC plans to host training webinars. We will share the dates as soon as we get the schedule. Watch our social media channels for webinar dates and, as always, touch base with your relationship manager if you think you may have missed some important information.

Who will run it?

The Agency will be administering this program for former federal-program housing co-operatives in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Prince Edward Island. Our clients will file an online claim annually, much like they do for the CMHC rent-supplement program.

Stay tuned for more updates on the rental assistance program. We will share information with your co‑op as it becomes available to us.

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