The B.C. government has provided support for homeowners recently, but an advocate says renters need help as well.

This week, the province announced the threshold for the homeowner grant would increase by 33 per cent. Before that, the government made headlines by announcing loans to first-time buyers for down payments.

Conversely, B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association executive director Kishone Roy says, "The deck is stacked against renters."

"That crunch that's happening with rapidly rising rents and disappearing vacant suites is really impacting a lot of people," he told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

"It's going to take multiple prongs to solve [the problem]. Part of it will be putting new supply online and part of it will be taking a look at renters and figuring out what other supports they need so they can stay in that unit and don't end up homeless or can make the transition to home ownership."

Roy says policy-makers need to consider how high rents constrain consumer spending and thus slow down the economy in other areas.

He suspects supply is a big part of the problem, and until that is resolved, he says, many renters will struggle. He says the province's commitment to build 4,900 units of affordable housing is a good start.

"It would be [a solution] if we were doing it every year. Statistically, that's kind of what we should've been doing for a long time," he said. "But we just went 30 years without building any private market rental housing and 20 plus years without building any social housing. Now we're looking at it saying, 'I wonder why there aren't enough rooms for anybody now?'"

Roy says solving the supply problem will be a long-term project.

In a statement, a spokeswoman with the Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Ministry Responsible for Housing noted in addition to the 4,900 new social housing units, the government provides rental assistance to about 20,000 seniors and 10,000 low-income households.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Homeowner help is great, but advocate says renters need a hand, too