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Province announces new rent supplement program for youth leaving government care

The provincial government has introduced a new monthly rent supplement to support youth transition from government care into a private rental accommodation.

Mitzi Dean, the Minister of Children and Family Development, said they are life-changing supplements.

“We’ve heard for far too long from young people they don’t want to just survive, they want to thrive, and yet they’ve been dreading their 19th birthday for far too long now because they just felt like they were falling off a cliff and not getting any support. So we’ve introduced the rent supplements as a package to help support young people from government care make that transition in a successful way and into young adulthood.”

She added the supplement is 600 dollars a month.

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“And as long as the young people continue to be eligible for their rent supplement, they can access that for up to two years. In the meantime, they’ll be able to be supported by new youth transition support workers who will help them navigate another programming, and help them really build that independence so that after a couple of years of having this supplement they’ll be in a position where they don’t need it anymore.”

In addition, the first application period is open until November 1st.

“What we’re going to do is have two open windows of application each year, because you know all the time young people from care are turning 19, so we want to make sure that we’re able to be responsive to young people as they are making that transition to independence,” said Dean.

She stated it’s part of the whole package of support that has been introduced.

“We’ve actually made improvements to their life skills training, to access to tuition waivers, more access to cultural supports as well, and just a couple of months ago we actually made their earnings exempt from any penalties. Previously if they earned money independently then some of that programming might get cut. And what we’ve said is we actually want to support young people engaging in employment, going out and building up their resume, getting different work experience, and building towards independence by actually increasing their earnings as well.”

Dean says the rent supplement application can be found at www.gov.bc.ca/youthtransitions.

with files from George Henderson, My Cariboo Now staff

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