Struggling to find somewhere affordable to live in Canada? You’re not alone. Today’s high cost of living has become a significant burden for many people, especially those experiencing financial difficulties or lower incomes.
If you need help paying for rent or security deposits, there are several organizations and assistance programs available to Canadians, including government grants, loans and vouchers that can offer financial assistance and additional resources. Whether your budget has been stretched to the brink or you’ve recently faced a financial emergency, accessing safe and affordable housing in Canada is possible.
In this blog, iCash, an online loan provider in Canada, has highlighted some of the many ways you can obtain financial help with housing costs, as well as how to navigate the process from start to finish.
Types of Housing Assistance in Canada
Whether you qualify for government assistance programs or seek help from non-profit organizations or charities, there are options out there to help you find housing. Knowing where to turn can make all the difference in the world - and we’ve outlined some options below.
1. Government Assistance Programs
One of the most common sources of financial assistance in Canada are government programs. Depending on your location and situation, you may be able to access subsidies, grants, or vouchers to cover some or all of your rent or security deposit costs.
The Canada Revenue Agency, for example, provides the Canada Housing Benefit to help renters on a low or fixed income keep up with the cost of living. In late 2022, a one-time top up was added for additional expenses due to the current rising living costs throughout the country.
The eligibility criteria for the Canada housing benefit may vary from province to province, however, general eligibility guidelines for the one-time top up to the benefit include:
You were at least 15 years old on December 1, 2022.
Your principal residence was within Canada on December 1, 2022.
You were a resident of Canada in 2022 for tax purposes.
You had an adjusted family net income in 2021 of $35,000 or less (for families) or $20,000 or less (for individuals.
The 2022 rent you paid was paid within the calendar year, paid for any qualified principal residences in 2022, and equal to at least 30% of your 2021 adjusted family net income.
2. Other Provincial and Municipal Programs
Depending on where you live, there may be additional programs available to help with housing costs. Many provinces and municipalities have their own programs and initiatives designed to support residents with lower income and those facing financial challenges.
For example, the city of Toronto has a program called the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF), which provides emergency assistance for rent, utilities, and other housing-related costs.
In addition, there are many provincially-funded housing assistance programs available to those in need. Some examples include:
The Manitoba Rent Relief Fund is a government funded financial assistance program intended to support low to moderate income Manitobans to help secure, maintain or stablize housing.
The BC Rental Assistance Program (RAP) provides eligible low income working families with a monthly stipend to help with rent payments.
In Alberta, the Canada Alberta Housing Benefit aims to provide low income Albertans monthly rent benefits to help offset the costs of rent in the province.
The Saskatchewan Housing Benefit provides monthly financial assistance to renters with their shelter costs (rent and utilities). This program is co-funded by the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan under the National Housing Strategy.
Municipal and provincial housing assistance programs can give you peace of mind if you’re experiencing a difficult financial situation. You can learn more about other affordable housing programs available across Canada, and to see which you may qualify for.
3. Charitable Organizations
In addition to government programs, there are many non-profit organizations and charities in Canada that can provide financial assistance or other resources for people in need. For example, the Salvation Army operates a program called the Housing Stability Bank, which provides emergency financial assistance to help cover rent or utility bills.
Although programs like this typically focus on supporting displaced or soon-to-be displaced individuals and families, you may also qualify if you’ve been affected by domestic abuse, a natural disaster, or any other type of unforeseen circumstance.
Applying for Government Funded Financial Assistance
To apply for housing assistance programs, you must first determine your eligibility to ensure that the program, grant or voucher you’re applying for can be provided to you.
Once you’ve determined your eligibility, you’ll want to follow these steps:
Research the benefit support programs available designed to help assist with housing expenses.
Gather any necessary documents, including proof of identity, proof of residency, notice of assessments or other tax documents that may be needed to complete the application process.
Fill out and submit the application, either online or in person at your local Service Canada office.
Follow up with the program administrator to ensure your application status is active and being worked on.
Always keep your information updated to ensure that you continue to receive the assistance you need.
Don’t hesitate to seek assistance and advice from your local government, social services agency, or community centre.
Remember that financial assistance can make a significant difference in your quality of life, so never give up on your search.
Additional Ways to Find Financial Assistance for Housing Costs
Even if you don’t qualify for financial assistance programs to cover your housing expenses, there’s still hope for a successful move-in. It may take some time and research, but getting the money you need may be easier than you think.
Below, we explore some alternative options for obtaining financial help with housing costs:
1. Talk to your Landlord
Finally, if you are struggling to pay your rent, it's always worth talking to your landlord to see if they are willing to work with you on a payment plan or other arrangements. While this may not result in the same level of financial support as some of the other options, it can help to reduce the immediate burden of rent and security deposits.
2. Earn Extra Income
Finding odd jobs, from tutoring to taking online surveys, can help you make money right now and help offset any additional moving expenses. Making extra cash, in addition to any employment income or government benefit programs,
offers an easy way of making extra cash and easing the transition into your new place with less worry.
Another option to consider is crowdfunding. Websites like GoFundMe can be used to ask for donations or support from family, friends, and other individuals in your community. While this is not a guaranteed source of income, it can be a way to get some extra support if you’ve been recently affected by an unfortunate financial situation.
Finding Affordable Housing in Canada
Finding affordable housing in Canada can be challenging, especially when you're already facing financial hardship. However, there are simple tips you can follow so that you’re not left without somewhere to live.
Below, you can explore various options available to help reduce your overall housing costs:
1. Look Outside the City
If you're looking for affordable housing, then it's better to start looking in the suburbs or the outskirts of the city. These areas tend to have lower housing costs than the city centre. You should keep in mind, though, that you may have to compromise on certain amenities or facilities, such as public transportation, schools, and access to shops and restaurants.
2. Consider roommates
Another way to reduce the cost of housing is by sharing it with roommates or subletting a room in another person’s apartment. Both of these options will allow you to split the rent, utilities, and other expenses, which can significantly bring down your monthly expenses. However, make sure that you choose a roommate that is reliable, trustworthy, and compatible with your lifestyle.
3. Negotiate Rent
Don't be afraid to negotiate the rent with your landlord. If you're a good tenant and have a good credit score, you may be able to negotiate a lower rent or a longer lease term. Landlords are often willing to negotiate with tenants who pay on time and take good care of the property.
4. Look for Rent-Controlled Apartments
Some cities in Canada have rent-controlled apartments, which means that the landlord can only increase the rent by a certain percentage every year. These apartments are often affordable and can provide long term stability in terms of housing costs. You can check with local housing authorities or online rental websites to find such apartments.
Consider iCash to Cover Housing Expenses
Finding affordable housing can be challenging for many Canadians, but luckily there are various housing assistance programs to ease the financial burden. However, if you’re still unable to afford your rent or security deposit, instant cash loans from iCash can certainly help. With iCash, you can borrow up to $1,500 immediately, regardless of your financial history, and avoid the hassle of missing out on any upcoming rental opportunities.