The BC Rebate for Accessible Home Adaptations (BC RAHA) is an updated version of the Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) program. BC RAHA launched in March 2021. It provides financial assistance for low-income households to carry out adaptations for independent living.
BC RAHA isn’t aimed specifically at co-ops. Most ownership and building forms are potentially eligible, including co-op buildings, but please note the following eligibility criteria.
The first is the value of the unit(s) being considered for upgrades. BC Housing uses a test based on assessed property value. If a property is worth more than a certain amount (dependent on geography) then the property isn’t eligible. For many co-op buildings, it’s the complex rather than individual homes that are assessed, so the valuations can seem too high. BC Housing has indicated it will take an approach similar to what it did with the older HAFI program. It will generally look at the overall valuation for the complex and calculate the value of an individual suite by dividing the total value by the number of co-op homes in the complex.
The second concern has to do with funding from other sources. “Any housing owned, subsidized by or under agreement with any level of government” is ineligible. This would include co-ops receiving operating assistance through active Section 95, ILM, or Homes BC agreements. Co-ops that have seen their original Section 95 agreement expire and are in CMHC’s Rental Assistance Program (RAP) would generally be eligible. Co-ops that have paid off their ILM mortgages but still have an active rent supplement agreement may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
For individuals, there are maximum annual household income ($117,080) and asset ($100,000) restrictions. Someone in the household must have a disability or “lasting ability loss” and the proposed adaptation should directly address the permanent disability or diminished ability. This provides a fair amount of flexibility to address changes in kitchens, bathrooms, electrical and plumbing systems, installation of transfer aids, rails and more. See BC Housing’s non-exhaustive list of potentially eligible adaptations.
Find out more on the BC Housing BC RAHA webpage.
BC RAHA is open to housing co-operative members through a “Homeowner” application. (If your co-op has a renter looking for unit adaptations, there’s an option under the “Landlord and tenant” application form.)