Letter: Lions ‘cuts’ offset by SAFER

Dear Editor,

A recent article in the Langley Advance described “cuts” to government funding for the Langley Lions Senior Citizens’ Housing Society resulting in a potential impact on tenant rents. (“Langley housing society says it can’t keep funding government cuts, Jan. 30, 2017.)

The funding in question has NOT been eliminated. Rather, the society’s mortgage has been paid off meaning they should no longer need this support to offset mortgage payments.

When a mortgage is paid off, societies are solely responsible for a project’s ongoing financial viability.

Once mortgage free, societies should have enough of a positive cash flow to cover costs and continue to provide affordable housing.

The Langley Senior Citizen’s Housing Society is now preparing to pay out its mortgage on three buildings that are home to lower-income seniors. BC Housing has been working with the society to prepare them for this important transition.

Residents are being encouraged to apply for Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters (SAFER) – a monthly rent subsidy for seniors paid by the B.C. government. Currently, close to 20,000 seniors’ households across BC receive SAFER benefits, 850 are in Langley. In 2014, SAFER benefits were increased to a maximum of $765 for a single recipient and $825 for a couple.

The province and BC Housing will continue to work with The Langley Senior Citizen’s Housing Society and its residents to make this a smooth transition.

Mary Polak,

MLA for Langley