Tuesday, February 20, 2007

British Columbia 2007 Provincial Budget's Theme is Housing

British Columbia's Minister of Finance Carol Taylor released the 2007 Budget today. The government emphasized a number of measures intended to reduce housing costs. Here is a summary from the budget:

Budget 2007 responds to the housing challenges of a growing economy and takes a major step towards every British Columbian having access to a safe, appropriate and affordable place to live, by:

increasing the number of year-round shelter beds for people who are homeless;
providing 24/7 staffing in transition houses for women and their children leaving abusive relationships;

increasing income assistance shelter rates by $50 per month;
converting up to 750 social housing units to supportive housing to better meet the specialized needs of seniors and people with disabilities;

increasing the Rental Assistance Program threshold to $28,000, making over 20,000 families potentially eligible for cash benefits;

establishing the $250 million Housing Endowment Fund as a legacy that will provide an estimated $10 million a year in earnings available to fund new innovative ways of meeting housing challenges;

enhancing the First Time Home Buyers' Program by raising the threshold to $375,000 across the province;

raising the threshold for the Home Owner Grant and extending eligibility to lower income seniors, regardless of their home's assessed value;

allowing people to defer their property taxes starting at age 55, rather than 60;
making it more affordable for families to call British Columbia home by cutting personal income taxes by 10 per cent for people earning up to $100,000;

creating up to 250 additional units under the Provincial Homelessness Initiative; and
improving housing conditions for Aboriginals who live off-reserve.

No comments: