BC announces $500-per-month rental supplement, temporary halt on evictions

FILE- Dr. Henry said Tuesday the recorded number of coronavirus cases in B.C. is now 617

FILE- Dr. Henry said Tuesday the recorded number of coronavirus cases in B.C. is now 617

There are eight long-term care homes that have reported positive COVID-19 cases: Lynn Valley Care Centre (42 residents and 21 staff), Haro Park Centre (15 residents and 25 staff), Hollyburn House (one resident and one staff member), Dufferin Care Centre (one case), Delta View Care Centre (one case) and the and German-Canadian Care Home (one staff member), plus one new staff member case at Little Mountain Place Residential Care in Vancouver and one new resident case at Evergreen Heights in White Rock.

Previous story: B.C.'s provincial health officer is expected to provide the latest update on novel coronavirus in the province later on Thursday.

She says they have plans in place to manage and protect those living in the community, including how to help them isolate and care for those who are ill. "No one's going to lose their home", he said at a news conference in Victoria.

He also said the housing measures complement the $2,000 and $1,000 monthly payments already offered by the federal and provincial governments respectively to people who have lost income due to the pandemic. Applicants will be vetted for need through the federal employment insurance program.

Sixty-six people are in hospital, 26 of whom are in ICU, said Henry.

"People are feeling a lot of fear and anxiety and they need to be able to depend on the comfort and stability of home right now", Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson said.

As long as the province remains in a state of emergency, current and future evictions are suspended, with exceptions for health and safety issues.

"This is an incredible 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.

Henry also pointed to the fact that BC has taken measures to contain the spread of the virus at a different point in time in the virus's trajectory than Italy, as well as the fact the province's testing strategy has been informed by the experience of other countries. This will also help landlords pay their bills, Horgan said.

Several other provinces have moved to curtail evictions. But now there is a decreased risk with this new order.

"Our primary focus is to protect healthcare workers", he said. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they're aiming to have the application system online by April 6.

Fourteen people have died of COVID-19 in B.C.to date.

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