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Long waitlist for social housing in Coquitlam — but need gets you in faster

More than 1,100 people are currently on the waiting list for subsidized rental housing in Coquitlam.
Getty for rent sign
You can get on a list for subsidized rental housing, but you might have to wait awhile.

With high rents and inflation making life more challenging for Tri-Cities residents, some people are looking for roommates to share costs.

Dozens of people on are looking for people to share the rent in houses, apartments and townhomes.

Some are hoping to find a roommate in Coquitlam by Sept. 1 as school and a new month begins, with shared rents in the $1,000 per month range or less.

On Craigslist, meanwhile, a poster is looking for someone to rent a bedroom with a queen bed and a desk, while sharing a living room, dining room and a kitchen in a Coquitlam house.

Rents over $1,000 per month

The price, according to the listing is $1,100 a month.

However, sharing accommodation is still cheaper than renting alone, with average rents of $2,788 in Coquitlam, according to a recent national report by

Still others are using social media to connect.

Recently, someone posted on the Coquitlam Community Group on Facebook asking about subsidized housing for an older woman released from hospital who was looking for a place to live.

The elderly woman had nowhere to go, the poster stated.

"Please if you have any ideas or leads, it would be greatly appreciated," the poster wrote.

"I cannot believe our system has failed her so hard. She is a beautiful soul and is always thankful and kind. Thank you so much for reading this far."

The response from the community was exceedingly generous, with people thanking the woman for posting the story and seeking help for the elderly woman.

Within a few hours, recommendations were provided to help the woman with her quest, including recommending the services of a Housing Navigator, through the Seniors Services Society of B.C.

Others suggested contacting BC Housing and getting on their wait-list.

Coquitlam waiting list is long

But how quickly can you get housed through BC Housing?

Information provided by BC Housing shows there is a long waitlist for subsidized housing in the Tri-Cities, especially in Coquitlam.

For example, here's how many people are currently on the Housing Registry waitlist as of March 31, the most recent date available.

  • Coquitlam = 1,147 applicants
  • Port Coquitlam = 389 applicants
  • Port Moody = 126 applicants 

But lengthy waiting lists aren't the whole story, according to the housing provider; the age and circumstances of the applicant are also considered in a sort of triage system that priorizes certain groups, especially seniors and families.

"Allocation of subsidized housing in B.C. is based on housing need, not length of time on a wait-list. How quickly a person receives an offer of accommodation is dependent on the needs of other applicants on the wait-list, and housing availability in the region," the Tri-City News was told in an email.

"When assessing the needs of applicants, priority is given to seniors (age 55+), persons in receipt of disability pension, families with children, and people's current housing status, such as experiencing or at risk of homelessness."

Check-in every six months

For this reason, according to BC Housing, it is important that people in the registry "check in" every six months to keep their file up to date with any changes to their circumstances, and their current contact information.

As well, it should be noted that BC Housing oversees two housing registries: the Housing Registry — an application database for people in search of subsidized rental housing — and the Supportive Housing Registry — an application database for people at-risk of or experiencing homelessness who require housing with supports.

Where to apply on-line

"Finding affordable housing is a challenge for people across the province, and we're determined to tackle this crisis head-on. Since 2017, more than 76,000 homes have been delivered or are underway throughout the province, as a result of provincial investments," BC Housing added in a statement.

Here's where to apply online for subsidized rental housing in B.C.

Rent help through SAFER

Meanwhile, lower income seniors renting in the private market may be eligible for a rent supplement through SAFER (Shelter aid for elderly renters).

SAFER provides monthly cash payments to subsidize rents for eligible B.C. residents who are age 60 or over. Existing clients need to reapply each year.

Find out how much rent help you could get with this rental assistance program calendar.