YWCA Single Mothers' Housing | Frequently Asked Questions
YWCA Metro Vancouver Affordable Housing
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for YWCA Single Mothers’ Housing?
You are a single mother who can live independently; you are at least 18 years old; you have dependent children who live with you at least 40 % of the time; you have reliable and reputable previous housing references; and your admission to our housing development will not endanger the welfare and safety of other residents.
What does “live independently” mean?
Applicants who can independently maintain their personal health and well-being in a self-contained living unit and can fulfill tenancy obligations including paying rent, caring for their unit and maintaining appropriate relations with neighbours.
Applicants who require supports to live independently may be considered if they are able to demonstrate that they have adequate supports.
Do I need to have my children living with me?
Yes, you must have at least one dependent child living with you.
Who is considered a dependent child?
Your unmarried child or legal ward who:
- Lives with you a minimum of 40% of the time; and is
- Under 19 years of age; or is
- Under 25 years of age and registered in full-time school, university or vocational institute which provides a recognized diploma, certificate, or degree; or is
- Of any age who, because of mental or physical infirmity, is accepted as a dependent for income tax purposes.
Can I have someone other than my dependent child live with me?
Only you and your dependent children are allowed to live in YWCA Single Mothers’ Housing. You cannot have any intimate partner, other family member or friend, or anyone who was not on your original application move in with you. If you have another dependent child (birth of a child; adoption of child; become the legal guardian of a child; or regain custody of a child) you must write a formal request to the Property Manager requesting that they be allowed to live with you.
Guests may stay with you for a total of 14 overnights in a calendar year, whether it is all in a row, or a day here and there.
How are applicants chosen for YWCA Single Mothers’ Housing?
Single mothers with dependent children who meet our eligibility criteria and who have submitted an application to YWCA Single Mothers’ Housing will go onto our waitlist. When selecting applicants for an interview, staff considers:
- Date of application
- Greatest housing need (there is a point system)
- Applicants who live, work, go to school or have existing support systems in the community of the housing they are applying to
- Special consideration is given to applicants who are currently participating in other YWCA programs
- Special consideration is given to applicants who have additional barriers that impact their ability to find safe, affordable housing
How long is the waitlist?
The demand for YWCA Single Mothers’ Housing is greater than the number of units available, and wait times depend on the number of unit turnovers and the needs of other households applying for housing.
We cannot give you an accurate estimation of the wait time, but encourage eligible people to get on the waitlist, and to contact us if their information changes, and again yearly to keep their application active. Email addresses for Property Managers are available on our website at: http://ywcavan.org/programs/affordable-housing/how-apply-and-eligibility
How will I be contacted about housing?
The Property Manager will contact you if they require more information and/or to set up an interview and perform additional checks to determine if they will offer you an available unit. The additional checks include:
- Verification of information provided on your application
- Completion of searches of websites in the public domain (Court Services Online)
- Requesting your consent to gather information from service providers
- Completion of reference checks
Some Property Managers like to interview eligible applicants before there is a unit available, so that they are ready to fill it right away when someone gives notice. Others will only call you when there is an upcoming vacancy.
Do I need to provide a landlord reference?
Yes. We will ask previous landlords about an applicant’s history of:
- Rent payment
- Damage to Unit
- Noise/nuisance behaviour
- Anti-social/life-safety behaviour
Under special circumstances, such as women fleeing an abusive partner, where it would endanger the applicant to contact the previous landlord, we will consider other professional references from people who have known you for a reasonable period of time and who can vouch for your suitability as a tenant. This could include an employer, social worker, transition house manager, or advocate.
We will not consider personal references from friends or family.
What size of unit do I qualify for?
The size of unit required by a household is determined by the National Occupancy Standards:
- There can be no more than 2 and no less than 1 person per bedroom
- Mothers do not share a room with their children
- Dependents aged 18 or more do not share a bedroom
- Dependents aged 5 or more of opposite sex do not share a bedroom
How much will I pay?
The amount you will pay depends on the size of your family and your gross(before taxes) household income.
If you are receiving income assistance from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, your tenant rent contribution is calculated on a flat rate table based on the number of occupants in your house.
If your income is anything other than income assistance, your tenant rent contribution is 30% of the gross income from anyone 19 years of age and over living in your home. There is however, a minimum tenant rent contribution for all units. You will be charged the greater of either 30% of your total gross income, or the minimum tenant rent contribution.
Please note, there is no maximum tenant rent contribution.
Are there income and asset limits?
For rent-geared-to income units, the asset limit is less than $100,000. The housing income limits are based on unit size:
- 2 bedroom unit: the income limit is $49,000/year
- 3 bedroom unit: the income limit is $56,000/year
- 4 bedroom unit: the income limit is $62,000/year
What happens if my income changes?
The Property Manager will recalculate your tenant rent contribution.
Are there other charges besides rent?
Each housing development is different, and the Property Manager will explain at your sign-up meeting all of the costs that you are responsible for. Tenant responsibility for utilities varies from building to building. All of our housing developments:
- Require a security deposit prior to move-in
- Require tenants to arrange for and pay for their own cable, internet and telephone
- Require tenants to have their own household insurance
Why do I need to have household insurance?
You are required to carry household insurance (content and liability), and to provide proof that you have it prior to move-in, and again every year.
This is required as tenants are responsible for damage that they cause to any part of the building or to others who live there (such as damage from fire, or flood), and having insurance ensures their ability to meet this obligation.
Is there parking?
Our housing developments have limited parking available for tenants. You have to complete a parking registration form to request a parking stall, and if none are currently available, you will be placed on a waitlist.
Some of our newer buildings have electric vehicle charging stations in the parking garage for plug-in electric vehicles, such as the Chevy Volt.
There is no guest parking in our housing developments.
Is there a laundry room or washer/dryer hookups in the units?
Some of the housing developments have washer/dryer hookups in the units; some of them have laundry rooms with coin-operated washers and dryers; and some have both.
Can I have pets?
Tenants can have one of the following pets per household (no other pets are allowed):
- One bird or;
- One tank of fish (maximum 10 gallons) or;
- One small caged mammal (i.e. gerbil, hamster, mouse, rat, rabbit, descented ferret, hedgehog or guinea pig) or;
- One spayed/neutered cat with documented medical need ONLY or;
- One spayed/neutered dog with documented medical need ONLY (Please note that unless the dog is a trained service dog, it must be brought in and out of the building in a closed carrying cage.)
The Property Manager may request a pet damage deposit prior to move in.
Is smoking allowed?
All YWCA single mothers’ housing is smoke-free. Smoking is not allowed in the units, on the balconies, on the patios or in the common areas.
Are there wheelchair accessible units?
There is at least one fully accessible unit in each housing development. When these units become available, priority is given to those with mobility issues.
Do I have to participate in anything?
No, but tenant participation is encouraged. Each YWCA housing development has its own tenant committees and social activities. There are tenant meetings throughout the year. These meetings are to help build community and share information. Once every year, the YWCA conducts a tenant survey, which is a chance to tell us how we are doing.