The displaced tenants of RidgeView Place are set to receive some much-needed respite after a tumultuous few weeks of uncertainty.
Nearly $30,000 in funds raised by the community in collaboration with the City of Langford and the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) will start being sent out to tenants of RidgeView Place.
More than a week after residents of Ridgeview Place were told to evacuate, some have managed to find a new place.
“It’s more space for my animals, there’s air conditioning in here, it’s about the same price and luckily it’s not at risk of anything happening,” said Tara Davies, a resident of RidgeView Place.
After being evacuated, Centurion Property Association initially offered $1,000 to each unit, which eventually rose to $2,500 plus a refund on their deposits.
A fundraiser was later launched with the City of Langford, the West Shore Developers Association, and the Community Social Planning Council.
Langford announced it’d match up to $75,000 in donations. As of May 5, over $27,000 has been raised.
Residents are being asked to apply through the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) portal, which comes with several eligibility requirements such as providing ID, three to six months of bank statements, and demonstrating their need for assistance.
CONCERNS OVER CRITERIA AND ACCESS TO FUNDS
However, some residents like Davies tell CHEK News that they’re actively choosing not to apply due to concerns of failing to meet those requirements.
“I’m not sure I can handle hearing no again,” said Davies.
“I feel like no matter what the situation is, we all suffered through it, and I don’t think we should have to prove our bank statements, and our income in order to receive.”
There have also been concerns raised throughout the community that the money is a loan, not a grant.
“We did not apply because it’s a loan. We don’t see it as fair and it’s extremely frustrating,” said Nicole Tremblay, another resident, in a message to CHEK News.
“When you look at the website … It doesn’t really state clearly that it is given to us as a loan, it sounds as if it’s a donation,” said Davies.
But officials from the CSPC say otherwise.
Diana Gibson, Executive Director for CSPC, says there has been misinformation spreading in the community due to the council’s affiliation with BC Rent Bank.
“No, this money isn’t a loan. This money is a grant program,”
Gibson says the planning council also runs a rent bank program, which is different from the grant program that is being used to help RidgeView Place residents.
Only seven households of the nearly 100 have applied since the portal opened, and she says two have been approved as having an “immediate need.”
“We are administrating a grant program for the city of Langford, for residents of Ridgeview Place that are currently in need,” said Gibson.
According to their plan, priority will be given to providing immediate assistance to those who require it the most.
However, all residents of RidgeView will eventually receive a portion of the grant money, regardless of whether they have applied for it or not.
“[The money will] be distributed to all of the households evenly and it will not be through an application process,” said Gibson.
Donations are continuously being accepted. CSPC says starting May 8, a portal will be opened to the public where they can apply to open up their homes permanently or temporarily to displaced residents.
Money from another separate fundraiser will soon be given out to displaced residents starting next week. Lisa Foxall, who created the fund, says over $10,000 has been raised.
“It’ll go to a group of residents, and it’ll be distributed to all 94 residents and the only qualification is that you have to have been evicted from the building,” said Foxall, who is also part of Our Langford.
GoFundMe charges 2.9 per cent plus 30 cents per donation, but Foxall says that’s been taken care of.
“Thankfully, we’ve had an anonymous donor come forward and pay all of the administration fees of the GoFundMe. So 100% of the funds will be distributed to all of those residents,” said Foxall.
Help will continue for the displaced residents, according to the organizer and she says that they’re working to also find accommodation for some.