The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is spreading globally and there have been growing instances of COVID-19 spreading in communities in British Columbia and across Canada. As a result, Canadian public health authorities have escalated measures to slow the spread of the COVID-19. The situation is evolving very quickly and we recognize the importance in working together to reduce the spread of the virus and taking steps to protect the people we serve. We have added additional resources below for non-profit housing and service providers, which includes an updated BC Housing Fact Sheet, Facility Entrance Posters, Guidance for People Who Use Drugs and Harm Reduction Program and information about Self-Isolating.
About the COVID-19 / Coronavirus
According to the federal government, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Some transmit easily from person to person while others do not. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans. Those with COVID-19 may have few to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19; they include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia in both lungs. In severe cases, infection can lead to death.
- CMHC – Additional information on CMHC’s flexibilities related to COVID-19 (March 26, 2020)
- CMHC – Q & A document about the loan payment deferral initiative for clients who have received financing through CMHC (March 25, 2020)
- Health Canada – COVID-19 Pharmacy Exemptions (March 14, 2020)
- BC Government COVID-19 App: Search BC COVID-19 Support in the App Store.
- BC Housing COVID-19 Sector E-Newsletters
- BC Housing Bulletin for Housing Providers (March 18, 2020)
- Ministry of Health Letter to Social Sectors (March 18, 2020)
- BC Housing Fact Sheet for Homeless Service Providers (March 16, 2020)
- BC Housing Fact Sheet on Responding to COVID-19 (March 13, 2020)
- Information for people who are self-isolating while awaiting test results after testing for COVID-19 (March 3, 2020)
Regional Health Authority Resources
- Vancouver Coastal Health – Building water systems and COVID-19 (March 27, 2020)
- Vancouver Coastal Health – COVID-19 Resources for VCH Staff and Community Partners Working with Vulnerable Populations (March 19, 2020)
- BC Centre on Substance Use – COVID-19: Information for Opioid Agonist Treatment Prescribers and Pharmacists (March 17, 2020)
- Fraser Health – Information and downloadable material to help answer questions about COVID-19
Guidance for People Who Use Drugs and Harm Reduction Programs
- CAEH: April 2 Webinar on Supporting Harm Reduction in COVID-19 Shelter and Self-Isolation
- BC Centre for Disease Control – COVID-19: Harm Reduction and Overdose Response (March 18, 2020)
- Safer Drug Use During the COVID-19 Outbreak (March 11, 2020)
- Syringe Services and Harm Reduction Provider Operations During the COVID-19 Outbreak (March 11, 2020)
- Facility Entry Reception Poster for COVID-19 (English)
- Facility Entry Reception Poster for COVID-19 11×7 (English)
- Facility Entry Reception Poster for COVID-19 (Punjabi)
- Facility Entry Reception Poster for COVID-19 (Simplified Chinese)
* We will continue to share resources and information with our local housing and service providers as the situation evolves.
BCNPHA Update on March 31
With both the Canadian and provincial governments releasing new strategies in their COVID-19 response plan every day or two, it’s difficult to understand which announcements benefit our sector and how the application processes will work.
BCNPHA has developed two tracking documents that outline new federal and provincial benefits for which your non-profit housing society and your residents may be eligible. These policy trackers include information on eligibility criteria and application procedures, where available.
As we know, this is a rapidly evolving situation and government responses are shifting regularly as the crisis develops and its impacts are better understood. Our policy team will monitor government policy and program development announcements daily, and will update these living documents as more resources and information become available.
BCNPHA Update on March 26
We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating enormous challenges for your organizations as you navigate how to provide services and support your residents while balancing the health and safety of your staff.
In response, we’ve put together two FREE webinars:
- HR Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis (March 30) Click here to register
- Exploring Pandemic Response Challenges with BC Housing, AHMA and BCNPHA (April 2) Click here to register
Both of these webinars will be recorded and will be available on the member forum section of our website.
BCNPHA Update on March 25
Today’s announcement from the provincial government is welcome news for renters, and provides some much-needed clarity for housing providers:
- Renters with income loss will receive up to $500 per month to pay their rent, with payments being made directly to the landlord
- Ability for landlords to limit access to common spaces
- Restrictions on landlords accessing tenant suites
We have confirmed that tenants who live in buildings that do not receive operating subsidies, and who do not receive rent supplements from the BC Government, will be eligible for the new rent subsidy for COVID-19 related income loss. This includes tenants in PIAH, IHI, CPI and post-operating agreement buildings.
The details of how it will roll out are still being finalized but it’s great to see the government working to help meet the needs of renters who are struggling. This pandemic is evolving rapidly and we appreciate the government’s efforts to navigate an evolving situation as quickly as it can.
In her remarks, Minister Robinson mentioned that they are also exploring the ability for landlords to limit guest access to rental buildings and we are awaiting more information on this development.
Here at BCNPHA, we’re working hard to bring you information and updates across multiple formats. Recognizing the need for our sector to connect and learn from each other, we’ve developed a Member Forum with a wide range of topics, including a link to last week’s COVID-19 webinar recording with BC Housing and Dr. Parhar. It’s a great spot for BCNPHA members to log in and discuss (from a safe, online distance!) COVID-19 response strategies, asset management issues, education opportunities and much more. Check it out and post often to keep the conversation going, we’re in this together!
Speaking of education, BCNPHA continues to offer valuable HousingU courses and webinar opportunities. These online education offerings are a great option for members of our sector who would like to brush up on their skills, as well as for those who may be taking on new responsibilities in light of staffing shortages. From business continuity and employment / HR legal issues, stay tuned for upcoming webinars in response to the coronavirus pandemic, starting on Monday.
You are likely aware that we have cancelled both the Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland RENT events in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We realize how important these education and networking events are for our members and we are working with our partners to expand our online education offerings to keep your buildings, staff and tenants safe.
We also want to assure you that BCNPHA is working hard to advocate on our members’ behalf. I am in daily contact with BC Housing, key partners and stakeholders, and other government agencies to raise the concerns of the non-profit housing sector and to be able to share the latest information on how all levels of government are responding to the crisis. Please also sign up for the new BC Housing Covid-19 Info Bulletin Newsletter.
BCNPHA Update on March 19
1) COVID-19 Sector Survey
To advocate effectively for supports and resources, and to be responsive to the needs of the non-profit housing sector, BCNPHA would like to find out more about the issues your organization is grappling with by completing a short survey. Please click here to fill in the survey by March 26, 2020 at 11:59 pm.
2) FREE Webinar: Housing, Homelessness and Health amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic – Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 10:00 am
BCNPHA and AHMA know that non-profit housing providers have questions about how to support residents, clients and staff through the COVID-19 pandemic. We have partnered to host a FREE webinar to provide up-to-date housing and health information, and to give you an opportunity to ask questions in real-time during this unfolding crisis. BCNPHA members can log in and watch the recording in our new Member Forum here.
BCNPHA Update on March 18
Currently, BCNPHA is:
- Working with BC Housing and health partners to deliver a webinar that will help to answer questions about COVID-19 and its impacts on your operations.
- Conducting a survey to better understand the supports you need.
- Closely monitoring emerging information and regularly updating this COVID-19 response page with new tools and resources as they become available.
- Meeting regularly with BC Housing to pass on sector issues and concerns related to COVID-19 and ensure they’re being adequately addressed.
- Developing a member-portal so that non-profits can stay connected with one another to share experiences and resources.
BCNPHA Update on March 13
We would like to inform everyone that the Vancouver Island Regional Education, Networking & Tradeshow (RENT) event in Nanaimo, scheduled for April 16 and 17 at the Coast Bastion Hotel, has been cancelled due to precautions surrounding COVID-19 / Coronavirus. We are working with our partners to explore opportunities for a virtual RENT event, about which we will share more information with you shortly. If you have already registered for the Vancouver Island RENT event, you will receive a full refund. Read more here.
In the News
*Please note that this page is being updated on an ongoing basis.