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YWCA Afforable Housing | Frequently Asked Questions

YWCA Metro Vancouver Affordable Housing

Frequently Asked Questions 

Who is eligible for YWCA Affordable Housing?

Do I need to have my children living with me?

Can someone other than my dependent child live with me?

How are applicants chosen for YWCA Affordable Housing?

How long is the waitlist?

How will I be contacted about housing?

Do I need to provide a landlord reference?

What size of unit do I qualify for?

How much will I pay?

Are there other charges besides rent?

Is there parking?

Can I have pets?

Are there wheelchair accessible units?

Do I have to participate in anything?

Can I be transferred to another unit?


Who is eligible for YWCA Affordable Housing?

You are a single mother who can live independently; you have dependent child(ren) who live with you at least 40% of the time; you have reliable and positive previous housing references; and your admission to our housing development will not endanger the welfare and safety of other tenants, occupants, guess and/or staff. 

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What does “live independently” mean?

Applicants who can fulfill tenancy obligations including paying rent, caring for their unit and maintaining appropriate relations with neighbours. 

Applicants who require supports to do so may be considered if they are able to demonstrate that they have existing adequate supports. 

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Do I need to have my children living with me?

Yes, you must have at least one dependent child living with you at least 40% of the time.

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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. 

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Can I have someone other than my dependent child live with me?

No. 

Only you and your dependent children are allowed to live in YWCA Affordable 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. 

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How are applicants chosen for YWCA Affordable Housing?

Single mothers with dependent children who meet our eligibility criteria and who have submitted an application to YWCA Affordable 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

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How long is the waitlist?

The demand for YWCA Affordable 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. The email address for the Property Services Assistant is vblack@ywcavan.org.

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How will I be contacted about housing?

The Property Services Assistant 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 public sources (Court Services Online)
  • Completion of reference checks

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Do I need to provide a landlord reference?

Yes. We will ask previous landlords about an applicant’s history of:

  • Rent payment
  • Cleanliness
  • Damage to Unit
  • Noise/nuisance 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 one landlord reference (for example from a shelter or transition house manager) and one professional reference such as an employer, social worker, transition house manager, or advocate.

We will not consider personal references from friends or family.

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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

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How much will I pay?

Rent-Geared-to-Income Units:

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 Poverty Reduction, 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 that there is no maximum tenant rent contribution. 

Affordable Non Market Units:

The amount you will pay depends on the size of the unit you have been selected to live in.

Unlike for our rent-geared-to-income units, your rent is a fixed amount set below the average market rent for the community. 

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Are there income and asset limits?

The asset limit is less than $100,000. 

Rent-Geared-to-Income Units:

There is a maximum housing income limit under which applicants must fall. The housing income limits are based on unit size:

Number of Bedrooms

Minimum Income

Maximum Income
(HILS)

Two Bedrooms

No Minimum

$ 58,000

Three Bedrooms

No Minimum

$ 68,000

Four Bedrooms

No Minimum

$ 83,500

Affordable Non Market Units:

There is a minimum income requirement for our Affordable Non Market Units. Your family income will need to fall within the established Gross housing income limits as outlined below:

Como Lake Mews

Number of Bedrooms

Minimum Income

Maximum Income
(HILS)

Two Bedrooms

$ 27,000

$ 58,000

Three Bedrooms

$ 30,000

$ 68,000

Pacific Spirit Terrace

Number of Bedrooms

Minimum Income

Maximum Income
(HILS)

Two Bedrooms

$ 35,000

$ 58,000

Three Bedrooms

$ 42,000

$ 68,000

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What happens if my income changes?

Rent-Geared-to-Income Units:

The Property Manager for Tenant and Resident Services will review the changes to your income, and may recalculate a new tenant rent contribution.

Affordable Non Market Units:

If your income changes, your rent does not change. However, if your new gross income exceeds the housing income limits you cease to be eligible for the affordable non market units and would be required to move out.

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Are there other charges besides rent?

Each housing development is different, and the Property Manager for Tenant and Resident Services will explain at your sign-up meeting all of the costs that you are responsible for. 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
  • Require tenants to pay for utilities

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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. 

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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. 

Parking privileges are dependant on a tenant being in good standing. 

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.

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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. 

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Can I have pets?

Tenants can have one of the following pets per household (no other pets are allowed):

  • Two birds or;
  • One tank of fish (maximum 10 gallons) or;
  • Two small caged mammals (i.e. gerbils, hamsters, mouses, rats, rabbits, descented ferrets, hedgehogs or guinea pigs) or;
  • One spayed/neutered cat or;
  • One spayed/neutered dog (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 for Tenant and Resident Services will request a pet damage deposit prior to move in.   

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Is smoking allowed?

All YWCA Affordable Housing is smoke-free housing.  

"Smoke free housing" means that the residential property has been designated as a Smoke Free living environment with the exception of clearly marked smoking zones on some of our sites.  Tenants, occupants, and guests cannot smoke anywhere on the premises.

“Smoke Free” means that individuals may not use electronic smoking devices, inhale or exhale smoke from a lit cigarette, cigar, pipe, or other equipment that burns tobacco or other combustible substance on the property except where otherwise indicated.

We however do not warrant or promise that the residential property or the residential premises will be free of secondhand smoke.

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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. 

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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.

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Can I be transferred to another unit?

We advise applicants to only take a unit offered if that particular unit and housing site are satisfactory to you. We have very strict transfer criteria and only consider transfers if the criteria is met. (Please note that meeting the requirements of the transfer criteria does not guarantee a transfer and is also dependent on unit availability.)

Transfer Criteria:

* You have resided in your unit for a minimum of one year

* Your tenancy is in good standing

* There are no outstanding debts including chargebacks or rent arrears

* You are still eligible for housing

You must also meet one of the following Transfer Reasons:

1. Medical Need: The unit you presently occupy is injurious (or will become injurious) to your health or the health of your children. Medical documentation supporting your claim must be completed by a medical practitioner indicating how a move will alleviate your medical condition. Any costs associated with the completion of this medical documentation are the responsibility of the tenant.

2. Unreasonable Distance to Work or School: Your place of employment has changed since your occupancy and transportation is either unavailable when required, or is in excess of three (3) hours round trip. The tenant must demonstrate job stability, and a letter of verification of employment must be provided.

3. Social Conflict: Your continued residency in the unit, or vicinity, will put your well-being or the well-being of your children, at serious risk from trauma, violence, harassment, or other undesirable consequences. Police or an appropriate community resource agency must support these circumstances in writing.

4. Inappropriate Unit Size: A change in your household composition has resulted in the unit being too big (over housed) or too small (under housed) for the household. Refer to the National Occupancy Standards.

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