In a significant milestone for co-operative housing advocates, Coquitlam is celebrating the preservation of 290 co-op homes. This is thanks to the recently created Rental Protection Fund (RPF). The achievement marks a crucial step forward in safeguarding housing security for co-op members in a challenging housing landscape.
The acquisition was made possible by a $71 million Rental Protection Fund contribution to the Community Land Trust of B.C. (CLT). It secures homes in two housing co-operatives: Tri-Branch Housing Co-operative and Garden Court Housing Co-operative. Members of both co-ops were facing an uncertain future, This was due to the expiration of their land lease and accrued rent arrears. Without intervention, these families, couples, and individuals were at risk of eviction.
The acquisition by CLT through the Rental Protection Fund secures these much-needed affordable co-op homes. It enables residents to remain in their homes and neighborhoods with affordable rents for the long term. At the announcement, BC Premier David Eby emphasized the importance of defending homes such as these against profit-driven speculators. This helps to ensure safe, secure, and affordable housing for future generations.
B.C. Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon underscored the critical need to preserve affordable homes for older adults, families, and individuals who rely on these co-ops as their community. The Rental Protection Fund’s support not only secures the land purchase. It also facilitates necessary building upgrades, ensuring the long-term viability of these co-op homes.
The impact of the Rental Protection Fund extends beyond financial support. By assessing members’ incomes and setting housing charges at affordable rates, the RPF ensures that residents can continue to afford their homes while maintaining operational sustainability for the co-ops. This transformative model not only addresses the immediate housing crisis but also fosters community growth and resilience.
Thom Armstrong, CEO of the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. and the Community Land Trust, expressed immense joy in securing the co-op homes in Coquitlam. He emphasized that the members of these co-ops can now breathe easy and enjoy the security of tenure that they deserve. Armstrong extended his gratitude to the Rental Protection Fund, the City of Coquitlam, and the members of Garden Court and Tri-Branch. Their combined contributions made this significant achievement possible.
The successful preservation of 290 affordable co-op homes in Coquitlam is a beacon of hope in the current housing emergency. The RPF’s innovative approach, and the collaborative efforts of stakeholders, demonstrates a commitment to both housing security and community well-being.
As Coquitlam celebrates this significant victory, there is optimism for the future. It’s clear that initiatives like the Rental Protection Fund are essential in addressing the housing crisis and creating lasting positive impacts in our communities. With nearly 700 homes preserved throughout the province, and thousands more under consideration for funding, the fund is a driving force in safeguarding affordable housing and enriching communities across the province.
This announcement builds last year’s historic acquisition of 425 co-op homes in two Burnaby housing co-operatives by the CLT. These homes were in a similar situation to the Coquitlam co-ops. Both acquisitions are testaments to the power of co-operative action. As we celebrate this milestone, we remain committed to a future where everyone has access to safe, secure, and affordable housing.
To this end, Thom Armstrong’s comments last year in Burnaby remain relevant today:
“We have two main jobs: expand the co-operative housing movement and protect the homes we have now. Nothing is more important that having a safe, secure and affordable place to live. We are grateful for the support of all our members in helping us protect these homes.”
Check out the video of the announcement, as well as some of the initial media coverage.
Announced last year, the $500-million RPF is a vital initiative created by the Province of British Columbia to safeguard and preserve affordable housing stock.
The fund helps community housing providers purchase and refurbish existing rental buildings and housing co-operatives at risk of redevelopment or significant rent increases. This preserves affordable housing options in the province and ensures thousands of good homes for decades to come. The RPF will be announcing the purchase of hundreds of more existing rental homes in the coming weeks and months.