Waiting for the Budget but Homeowner, Business and Environmental Funds still available!

Hello Funds Fans!  Another BIG thank you to our new FaceBook viewers from the following cities and towns around this beautiful province:  Grand Forks, Oliver, Nootka, Campbell River, Burnaby, Langley, Whistler & Courtney as well as to those of you now following us on Twitter @fundsblogger.  Your support is much appreciated.

As we wait with bated breath for the unveiling of Canada’s 2012 budget, scheduled for March 29th 2012, I thought you might be interested in seeing how the budget creation process works in Ottawa.  (Cynics may note that the following illustration is full of “Tabling”, “Concurrence” and “End of Supply”.)

Image source: http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/compendium/web-content/c_d_financialcycle-e.htm

For any of you interested in seeing where our money went last year, you can have a look here.  Despite the seeming calm before the storm in funding availability that always precedes the new Budget, today we present funding sources for homeowners, small business and the environment.  Without further ado, here they are:

Homeowners throughout B.C. may benefit from the LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive Program which offers up to $7,000 in rebates for energy efficiency improvements in the following categories: space heating, water heating, insulation, windows, doors and more.  For a full list of the specific energy efficient rebates available, view the LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive Guide.(1 MB).  This Provincial program through is open to new participants until March 31, 2013.

CMHC (Canada Mortage & Housing Corportation) provides a suite of funding programs for individual Home-owners as well as for Landlords.  These programs have secured funding through to 2014 so are not dependent on this year’s budget allocations.  Available programs include:

Homeowner Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program — Homeowner RRAP:  This program helps people who live in substandard dwellings and who cannot afford to pay for necessary repairs to their home.  Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety.  Assistance is in the form of a fully forgivable loan. The loan does not have to be repaid if you agree to continue to own and live in this house during the earning period, which could be up to five years (the loan forgiveness period).  Maximum program funds vary by geographic area as follows:

Zone 1: Southern areas of Canada                      $16,000

Zone 2: Northern areas                                        $19,000

Zone 3: Far northern areas                                  $24,000

Additional assistance may be available in areas defined as remote.

Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities (RRAP — Disabilities): This program offers financial assistance to allow homeowners and landlords to pay for modifications to make their property more accessible to persons with disabilities. These modifications are intended to eliminate physical barriers, imminent safety risks and improve the ability to meet the demands of daily living within the home.  Assistance is in the form of a fully forgivable loan and does not have to be repaid if you adhere to the terms and conditions of the program. Landlords must enter into an agreement that establishes the rent that can be charged during the life of the agreement and restricts occupancy of the self-contained rental unit(s) to households with incomes below a set CMHC level. Homeowners must agree to continue to own the house during the loan forgiveness period, which could be up to five years.

Your property may be eligible for RRAP-D if the property:

  • is occupied, or is intended to be occupied, by a low-income person with a disability;
  • is rented and the rents are less than established levels for the area; or
  • is owned and the house is valued below a certain amount; and
  • does not have major deficiencies to the structure and systems.

Maximum program funds vary by geographic area as follows:

Zone 1: Southern areas of Canada    Homeowners $16,000          Landlords $24,000

Zone 2: Northern areas                      Homeowners $19,000          Landlords $28,000

Zone 3: Far northern areas                 Homeowners  $24,000         Landlords $36,000

Additional assistance may be available in areas defined as remote.

Home Adaptations for Seniors’ Independence (HASI): is a program that offers financial assistance for minor home adaptations that will help low-income seniors to perform daily activities in their home independently and safely.  It is available to Homeowners and Landlords when the dwelling occupant is 65 years of age or over and has difficulty with daily living activities due to loss of ability brought on by aging, the total household income is at or below the program income limit for the area and the home is a permanent residence.

Eligible adaptations must be permanently installed or fixed to the dwelling, improve access to basic facilities within the home and increase the physical safety for the resident. Examples of eligible adaptations are handrails in hallways, easy-to-reach work and storage areas in the kitchen, lever handles on doors and grab bars in the bathroom.

Financial assistance is available in the form of a forgivable loan of up to $3,500. The loan does not have to be repaid provided the homeowner agrees to continue to live in the home for six months (the loan forgiveness period). When assistance is provided for adaptations for a rental unit, the landlord must agree not to increase the rents as a result of the adaptations.

CMHC also offers financial assistance for the creation of a Secondary or Garden Suite for a low-income senior or adult with a disability, making it possible for them to live independently in their community, close to family and friends.  A Secondary Suite is a self-contained, separate unit within an existing home or an addition to a home. This means a full kitchen, bath facilities as well as a separate entrance.  A Garden Suite is a separate living unit that is not attached to the principal residence, but built on the same property.  Like a Secondary Suite, a garden suite is a self-contained unit.

You may be eligible to receive assistance if you are a homeowner or private entrepreneur owning residential property that would accommodate an affordable, self-contained rental unit for a low-income senior (65 years of age or more) or adult with a disability.  Your property must meet with the applicable zoning and building requirements and you’ll need to enter into an Operating Agreement that establishes the rent that can be charged during the term of the Agreement.  The household income of the occupant(s) of the newly created self-contained unit must be below a CMHC set level.

These program dollars are provided in the form of a forgivable loan that does not have to be repaid provided that the conditions of the program are met. Maximum program funds vary by geographic area as follows:

Zone 1: Southern areas of Canada                                 $24,000

Zone 2: Northern areas                                                   $28,000

Zone 3: Far northern areas                                             $36,000

A 25% supplement in assistance is available for remote areas.

Fundsblogger Note: This program can be combined with funds from the RRAP for Persons with Disabilities.

Also available from CMHC are:

Emergency Repair funds ($6,000 to $11,000 depending on geographic location) for low-income households in rural areas.

Conversion funds are available which create affordable housing for low-income households by converting nonresidential properties into affordable, self-contained rental housing units or bed-units.

Rooming House Improvement funds to pay for mandatory repairs to rooming houses occupied by low-income tenants. This program is available in both rural and urban areas.

Shelter Enhancement funds to provide assistance for the repair, rehabilitation and improvement of existing shelters, and to assist in the acquisition or construction of new shelters and second-stage housing for victims of family violence.

For businesses large or small the Efficient Boiler Program provides incentives to upgrade to qualified high-efficiency boilers and water heaters.

On the environmental front, we’ve learned that there is $29,142.00 available within the Trail – Lower Columbia River area for fish or wildlife habitat protection, enhancement, or restoration along the lower Columbia River from the Birchbank Golf Course to the United States border.  These funds are from Environment Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

That’s our two cents for the day folks.  The Budget may be under wraps but the money is still out there.  Go and get it!

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