Our family needs a place to call home

Authority Capital Region Housing Corporation , Capital Regional District

Maria and her two children had to move because their home was being demolished. Maria applied for subsidized housing through BC Housing, but nothing suitable to her was available where she lived. The family moved in with Maria’s mother, but the arrangement was not ideal. She submitted a supplemental application requesting her file be given priority ahead of other applicants. After several months of waiting there was still no indication from the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) that she was any nearer to the top of the list. Maria asked several times for an explanation as to why she hadn’t been offered a subsidized housing unit before she complained to us.

BC Housing manages a database of housing applicants which is accessed by the CRHC when its rental units become available. BC Housing determines the appropriate number of bedrooms and other unit features required by the applicant as well as the category of need or priority. The CRHC uses the registry information to identify prospective tenants, but it’s not bound by any assessment done by BC Housing.

The CRHC provided records that showed while Maria had been given information about the status of her application; it was unclear that her specific questions about her supplemental application had been responded to. After meeting with us, CRHC provided Maria with a written response to her questions.

This individual case however, suggested there were broader matters that still needed to be explored so our investigation continued. The CRHC provided documents to show it was using relevant criteria in the selection process; nevertheless, there seemed to be a lack of current policy to guide the decision making process and ensure consistent application of the selection criteria. We also questioned whether there was adequate publicly available information about the factors considered by the CRHC when deciding to grant subsidized housing.

In response to our proposal to settle these matters, the CRHC wrote: We value transparency, fairness and public accountability at CRHC and are committed to introduce your recommendations into practice.

The CRHC was in the process of undertaking a comprehensive review of its policies and it committed to ensuring that information regarding the subsidized housing selection process, including a list of factors considered by the decision maker when granting housing, would be made available to applicants and the public in printed format and on their website. CRHC also identified a single individual who would be responsible for responding to questions regarding the status of their applications.

Category Housing and Property
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2013
Location Vancouver Island / Sunshine Coast