Late last year the Agency swung into action at CMHC’s call. We were asked to get temporary rental assistance to co-ops whose operating agreements had ended before 2016. (These co-op were locked out of the new Rental Assistance Program because their agreements had expired too early.)
Led by retired Agency manager Gerry McEvoy, a dedicated team was formed to reach out to all eligible housing co-operatives in Canada. In partnership with federations across the country, our team was to connect with groups in five provinces, including Quebec. No time to waste with so short an application deadline! We hit the virtual streets with the goal of getting temporary housing assistance to every qualified household in every qualified co-op.
First, we sent out 241 e-mails and 442 snail-mail packages to over 300 small and large former federal-program co-operatives. After that initial push, the next step was to respond to numerous follow-up messages. We stopped counting after the first 1,000 phone calls and e-mails! It was a daunting task but we were determined that every eligible co-op would find out about the one-time funding and apply if they were interested.
After many weeks of diligent work, we are proud to announce that CMHC has approved 84 per cent of the applications. Sadly, a small group of those that applied were not eligible for the funding but some qualified for the Rental Assistance Program instead. Our combined efforts saw 688 households in 102 housing co-operatives granted temporary rental assistance totalling over $3.7 million.
Heartfelt thanks all our sector partners for their help in getting the word out to their members and to our expert team for getting the job done within the tightest of deadlines!