The Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER), managed by BC Housing, is a cash rent subsidy payable to eligible seniors 60+ who pay rent or pad rent for their housing. Currently, around 17,500 seniors in British Columbia use the SAFER program, which is about one in five senior renters.
According to a survey done by the BC Seniors Advocate, senior renters reported a “fairly high awareness of the SAFER program, with slightly more younger seniors than older seniors having knowledge of it”. Interestingly, the report also mentions that while awareness of SAFER was highest in Vancouver where rents are highest, and SAFER grant usage was greatest in the Interior Health Authority, where household incomes are lower than average.
To be eligible for the SAFER program, you must be 60+, lived in British Columbia for a full 12 months immediately preceding your application, meet citizenship requirements, pay more than 30% of your gross (before tax) monthly household income towards the rent for your home, and in the Okanagan region, make less than $2,446/month gross income as a single person, or $2,666 for a couple. You are not eligible if you receive income assistance through the B.C. Employment and Assistance Act or the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act (such as PWD).
To apply, you can phone 1-800-257-7756 to have an application mailed to you, or you can download an application here: https://www.bchousing.org/publications/SAFER-Application-Form.pdf
Check with your local seniors resource centre to see if they will help you fill out an application. The application also lists all the documents that you will need to send or fax in with your application.
For more information, visit https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance/SAFER