Housing Charge Assistance (RGI)

West Hills Co-op

Housing Charge Assistance
Rent-Geared-To-Income - (RGI)

1.   Application, Approval, Allocation
    If the applicant(s) feels that their family income cannot bear the full housing charge, they may apply for Housing Charge Assistance, otherwise known as Rent-Geared-To-Income (RGI). In this case, the co-operative will review the financial situation of the applicant(s) and calculate, using the accepted formulas, how much the family can afford to pay toward the housing charge without suffering financial hardship in other areas. If assistance is warranted, and if enough funds remain in the RGI pool, assistance will be granted. This means that the applicant(s) will receive, in the form of housing charge assistance, the difference required to bridge the gap between the full housing charge and the amount calculated that the applicant(s) can afford to pay.
    RGI assistance is a privilege granted to members of the co-operative. It is not a right. If at any time, those members receiving RGI assistance fail to meet the eligibility requirements or provide false or misleading financial information to the co-operative, said assistance may be immediately withdrawn.
2.   Eligibility Requirements
    To be eligible for RGI assistance, the member must be able to demonstrate financial need. In this case, financial need means that more than 25% of the family’s gross monthly income would go toward paying the monthly housing charge, (excluding utilities). In addition, all applicants must be Canadian Citizens or landed immigrants and require a minimum of $65.00 per month in RGI assistance. Members cannot receive assistance greater than that which they qualify according to the graduated housing charge scale set by the Federal Government.
    If the applicant(s) meets the above criteria, and the applicant(s) is a member of the co-operative in good standing, the applicant(s) may apply for RGI assistance.
3.   Definition of Income
    For the purposes of this handbook, income shall refer to the aggregate gross income in whatever form received, of all members of the family, or of an individual where applicant, EXCLUDING:
    i.   earnings of children in regular attendance at recognized institutions of learning, funds for tuition, such as scholarships, bursaries and contributions from non—resident family members;
    ii.   living out or travelling allowances of family head;
    iii.   earnings of a working spouse of up to $900.00 per annum;
    iv.   income from any source other than social assistance payments of a one-parent family up to $900.00 per annum;
    v.   capital gains, such as insurance settlement, inheritance, disability awards, and sale of effects; and
family allowance.
Verification of Income
In order to remain eligible for RGI assistance, the member must furnish the co—operative with a regular verification of the family income and family composition. The member will be asked to sign an agreement to provide the co—operative with financial Information when requested. The purpose of this Is to allow the co-operative access to the Information It requires to ensure that the RGI pool is being allocated fairly based on the actual need of those receiving assistance.
In addition, the applicant(s) will be asked to sign a Statutory Declaration stating the projected family income for that family for the next six month period. Some leeway Is built into this system so that stated amounts need only be a fair estimate. Before the applicant(s) signs this Declaration, the Co-op coordinator will explain in detail what the Declaration means and what the leeway amount is as set by the Board of Directors.
***Remember - A Statutory Declaration that is signed and commissioned has the same force and effect as if made under oath. Any knowingly false statements made in such a Declaration will result in the immediate suspension of all RGI assistance.
Changes in Income
    a.   Increases in Income
        Increases in income will affect the amount of RGI assistance granted to a member. All members receiving RGI assistance are obligated to report any increases in monthly income over $100.00 per month to the Co-op coordinator who will in turn inform the Board of Directors. The co-operative shall give the member 30 days notice of any housing charge assistance adjustment.
Failure to report such increases in income result in the forfeiture of all assistance privileges.
    b.   Decreases in Income
        By the same token, it is possible, if funds exist, to increase the amount of RGI assistance to a member if monthly income is decreased by more than $100.00 per month. Inform the Co-op coordinator if such a decrease occurs. Again, the co-operative shall give the member 30 days notice of any housing charge assistance adjustment.
    c.   Temporary Employment
        Any members receiving RGI assistance should inform the Co—op coordinator immediately when temporary employment, or any other form of income generating activity, is undertaken. Where a member’s permanent housing charge assistance is changed due to short term employment, the member’s allocation of RGI assistance funds will be suspended but held in reserve for a period of up to three months. During this period of temporary employment, the RGI assistance may be assigned to another member on an emergency basis, but will be reassigned to the previous member upon completion of his/her temporary employment and return to his/her previous income level.
False Declarations
All Declarations made by a member to the co-operative for the purposes of obtaining RGI assistance, must be true to the best knowledge and belief of that member.
If any such Declaration is knowingly false, the member will immediately forfeit all assistance privileges and may have his/her membership status revoked by the co-operative.
Waiting Lists
    a.   Internal
        The co-operative will maintain a waiting list of all members presently accepted and living in the co-operative who have applied for and been granted RGI assistance, but did not receive it due to a lack of RGI funds In the subsidy pool.
        When funds become available (i.e. when a member presently receiving RGI assistance no longer requires it or moves out of the co-operative), the first member of this internal waiting list will receive the available funds in the form of an RGI subsidy.
        This subsidy will not be retroactive.
        ***Note - Members on the internal waiting list will be ranked in terms of need and not on length of time at the co-operative.
    b.   External
        The co-operative wil also maintain an external waiting list of applicants who are not currently members but who have applied for membership contingent on receiving RGI assistance.
        Consideration will be given to applicants on this list only after the internal waiting list has been exhausted.
    c.   Emergency Assistance
        The co-operative may provide emergency subsidy assistance to those members who are not currently receiving RGI assistance but who have experienced a financial setback that would affect the payment of their present housing charge.
        In such an eventuality, the applicant may receive emergency assistance providing he/she can demonstrate suitable need and providing the assistance is of a temporary nature not to exceed three months in duration.
        Should the need for assistance extend beyond three months, the member must apply for standard RGI assistance and be added to the internal waiting list.
        No emergency assistance will be allocated on a permanent basis.
        If a household on the waiting list for assistance is allocated emergency assistance, that household shall retain its place on the waiting list and will be allocated permanent assistance as soon as it becomes available pursuant to Paragraph 7(a) of this section.
        Members receiving emergency assistance must meet the eligibility requirements set out in Paragraph 2 of this section.