Rent Assist is a financial assistance program from the Manitoba government. The purpose of the program is to help lower income Manitobans by providing some extra money every month to help cover the cost of renting a home.
There are 2 versions of Rent Assist – There is Rent Assist for folks that are receiving Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) and there is the Non-EIA Rent Assist program for those that are receiving income from other sources like employment, or federal benefits. For those on EIA, the Rent Assist benefit is automatically added to the monthly budget if they are renting a place in the private market.
Here are some important things you should know about the Non-EIA Rent Assist benefit.
- How is my income determined? The income used to determine the benefit is based on last year’s income tax return. You will not have to submit current paystubs – you’ll have to submit your income tax information from the previous year. You will need to provide a document called Option C or Proof of Income Statement and you can get this document through your CRA My Account or by calling 1-800-267-6999. If neither of these options work, please contact New Journey Housing.
- Can I apply if I have NEVER filed income tax in Canada before? Yes! If you are applying for Rent Assist and you arrived in Canada this year, you can still apply. If you do not have children, you will need to submit your GST approval and if you do have children, you will need to submit confirmation of the Canada Child Benefit. These documents provide information about your WORLD INCOME from the previous year. This is the income amount the program will use to determine your benefit. There are some exceptions to this rule: If you came to Canada as either a Government Assisted Refugee, Private Sponsored Refugee or a Blended Visa-Office Referred Refugee – then you do not need to wait for the GST or CCB letters. You can apply right away for Rent Assist if you are renting a home. Just indicate in your application that you are a recently arrived refugee and include copies of your landing papers.
- Can I get Rent Assist BEFORE I find a place to rent? Kind of – you can get a pre-approval from Rent Assist. You can submit your application but mark that it is for Pre-Approval. The program will calculate what you should receive based on your income and family size. Then, once you find a place and sign a lease, submit that to Rent Assist within 90 days. Your benefit will start from the first day that you started renting.
- If I receive Rent Assist, will this make it harder for me to sponsor relatives to come to Canada? No! Rent Assist is a program that is here to help you pay your rent and it has nothing to do with immigration departments.
- Do I have to tell Rent Assist if my income changes throughout the year? No. You only need to update Rent Assist once/year when it is time to renew your application. Rent Assist will send out a renewal form and you will need to submit your income tax documents (Option C) for the recent year. If you need help with this renewal, please contact New Journey Housing.
For more information about Rent Assist and for links to applications and eligibility, please go to their website or contact us at New Journey Housing. We can help you apply and assist in getting all your supporting documents together, including getting your Option C.