Published: Thu, March 26, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

COVID-19: B.C. making $500 a month available to renters

COVID-19: B.C. making $500 a month available to renters

Dr. Bonnie Henry has also reported one new death, the 11th linked to the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, bringing the provincial total to 14 deaths. The death toll from the pandemic in B.C.is now 14.

"We are actively looking at getting as much as we can", said Henry, who also mentioned using alternate supplies, but did not elaborate.

In an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, Henry said she has ordered that staff can only work in one long-term care facility.

They said: "Today, we are providing case updates for two 24-hour reporting periods: March 22 to 23, and March 23 through to this morning".

A health worker at a ninth seniors' home, the Broadway Pentecostal Lodge in Vancouver, had tested positive for the virus, Henry said. "We don't know if it was related to coronavirus or not, and that is why the coroner is investigating".

Henry said the province has had additional equipment on order "for some time".

Horgan said the province is assuming its rental supplement will see 100% pick-up, and that the province is then "working back from there" on the understanding that not everyone will need it.

The province has unveiled a new temporary rental supplement program and moved to freeze rents and halt evictions to help people who've lost income because of COVID-19 and ensure at least some cash flow for landlords.

Premier John Horgan has announced a number of temporary measures to help renters in British Columbia.

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"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 339 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 218 are in the Fraser Health region, 47 are in the Vancouver Island Health region, 46 are in the Interior Health region and nine are in the Northern Heath region".

That means delaying or cancelling in-person social engagements, including major celebrations and ceremonies.

"It is very important, right now, that we come together in our communities and support each other, but we do that in a virtual way and we have a safe space between us to stop the transmission of this virus", she said. Fifty-five of those people are health care workers.

The B.C. Government is issuing rental relief funding directly to landlords, halting evictions and freezing rent increases across the province in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

"We want to make sure that those students are supported and that their concerns are heard".

Those measures include a ban on gatherings of more than 50 people, the closure of bars, restaurants and personal service businesses, and the requirement that people keep two metres (6 feet) apart in public.

"The fewer people who access the program, the more opportunity we have to expand it going forward", said Horgan, noting there are about 500,000 renters in B.C.

The next week to 10 days will be critical, she said, in determining whether COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through the B.C. population or if the containment measures have had the desired effect.

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