If you spend too much of your family budget on rent, the Quebec Shelter Allowance Program may be able to provide you with financial assistance to help you make ends meet. This assistance may be in the form of a monthly check or through direct deposit.
The Shelter Allowance Program
The Shelter Allowance Program is implemented by the Société d’Habitation du Québec and is administered by Revenue Quebec. The Shelter Allowance Program applies to low-income homeowners, tenants, rooming house occupants, and any individual who shares a dwelling with one or more other occupants.
To qualify, you must also meet one of the following criteria:
- Be 50 years of age or older and living alone;
- Be a member of a couple where or your spouse is 50 or older;
- Be a member of a low-income household that is composed of workers, students or income-security recipients, with at least one dependent child.
To receive the allowance, you and your spouse, if applicable, must have filed your Quebec income tax return.
To determine eligibility and the amount you may receive, the Shelter Allowance Program takes into account the number of persons in your household, the type of household you live in, your income and your monthly rent.
The Société d’Habitation du Québec publishes the admissibility thresholds annually. For example, for the 2015-2016 program year a person who lives alone in a rooming house and is over 50 will be eligible if his rent is over $198 and his income is below $16,480. For a family with two dependent children, the minimum rent is $460 and the maximum income level is $25,360.
If you are eligible, you may receive a monthly allowance of up to $80, which is paid every month by cheque or direct deposit. As a rule, you will begin receiving the allowance one month after you file your application. Note that Revenu Quebec reviews the amount of the allowance each year.
You are not eligible for the Shelter Allowance Program if you live in a low-rental housing unit or a government-funded health and social services centre, or if you receive a rent supplement or another housing subsidy, or if you or your spouse have belongings or cash amounts that exceed $50,000 in value — excluding the value of your residence, land, furniture and car.
Applying for the Shelter Allowance Program
If you think you qualify for the Shelter Allowance Program and want to apply for it, you must contact Revenu Quebec by telephone to request a Shelter Allowance Application or Renewal Form. Note that this form is not available online.
The number to call varies according to the region where you reside. Visit the Revenu Quebec website to find out which phone number you should call.
You will need to fill out the form and return it to Revenu Quebec along with a number of documents. Note that only one person per couple can apply. The amount of the allowance will be the same regardless of which person files the application.