Rent Assistance Programs

Rent Assistance Benefit (RAB) 

What is the RAB Program and how can it help me and/or my family?

The Rent Assistance Benefit is designed for households in core housing need who have low incomes and ongoing need. Recipient households live in rental housing and receive a monthly benefit amount to help make their rent more affordable. You can apply for the RAB program through Heartland Housing Foundation if you hold a lease in Strathcona County or Fort Saskatchewan. Call 211 to find out who your local service delivery agent is if you live outside of our service area.

For full details on eligibility, including eligible dwelling types, household compositions, and more, scroll and click on the FAQs below.

Our office hours are by appointment only. To make an appointment, email us at applications@heartlandhousing.ca

Rent Assistance Benefits FAQS (click to expand)

What is RAB?

The Rent Assistance Benefit (RAB) is a provincial program designed for households in core housing need who have low incomes and ongoing need. The Rent Assistance Benefit (RAB) is a benefit paid directly to subsidy recipients to help make their rent with a private landlord more affordable. Heartland Housing Foundation is the local delivery agent (Fort Saskatchewan and Strathcona County) for the program and is not the landlord in this program.

All RAB recipients must sign an agreement with Heartland Housing Foundation before receiving the benefit.

How much is RAB?

The benefit amount is the difference between what would be affordable rent (e.g. 30% of the recipient’s total household income) and the market rent for the unit, up to the maximum supplement amount of $500 per month.

Who is eligible?

You must meet all eligibility criteria under the Social Housing Accommodation Regulation. This means you must:

  • Be in core housing need.
  • Have a total asset value of $25,000 or less.
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident (except for those who are under a private sponsorship arrangement), convention refugee, an individual who has applied for refugee or immigration status and private sponsorship has broken down.

Recipients must also live in eligible housing to receive the benefit. Eligible housing is a self-contained, rented home. This means the home has its own kitchen and bathroom and is not shared with the landlord. A recipient could live in:

  • A basement suite or secondary suite as long as it has been approved by the municipality in which it is located.
  • Co-operatives with a written co-operative agreement.
  • Mobile home where the tenant is renting both the mobile home and the pad with a written tenancy agreement.
  • Detached housing, row/townhouse, duplex or triplex, or apartments or condos with a written tenancy agreement.

What is considered an asset and how does this impact my eligibility?

  • A household cannot hold over $25,000 in eligible assets as defined by the Social Housing Accommodation Regulation.
  • One personal non-recreational vehicle is exempt from the asset limit, but a second would not be exempt unless it is used for work purposes. See Section 6 of the application.

What does it mean to have a Core Housing Need?

A household is in core housing need if:

  • Suitable accommodation costs more than 30% of the household’s total income on rent, and
  • The household has a total annual income below the income threshold for a given municipality.

What is considered a household?

A household is defined to include the following:

  • The spouse, common-law, or adult interdependent partner
  • Dependent(s) – A dependent includes a member of the household who is not self-supporting. A dependent is an individual under 25 years of age and related by blood, marriage, or adoption to another member of the household, or by virtue of an adult interdependent relationship.
  • Adults co-applying for housing who are none of the above

Who is not eligible?

Anyone is eligible if they meet the above criteria, however, the types of housing listed below are not suitable for the rent assistance benefit:

  • Hotels, motels, and vacation rental by owner (VRBO) arrangements.
  • Illegal basement/secondary suites.
  • Owned mobile homes requesting supplement for the rent of the pad.
  • Shared living accommodations with the landlord (your landlord is your roommate).
  • Housing owned by the applicant.
  • You are not eligible for RAB if you are living in subsidized housing (e.g. rent-geared-to-income housing).

How are applications evaluated?

Applications are evaluated first by eligibility (see previous question) and then prioritized based on factors such as:

  • Number of dependents
  • Rent to income ratio and utility responsibility
  • Impacts to personal wellbeing
  • Health & safety risk
  • Identification as a member of a target population 

Maximum Applicant Household Composition Examples

1 adult

2 adults

1 or 2 adults & up to 2 dependents

1 or 2 adults & up to 3 dependents

1 or 2 adults & 4 or more dependents

Maximum Income

$37,000

$44,000

$54,000

$67,000

$71,500

How do I apply?

The application can be downloaded here. 

Does being an eligible applicant guarantee I will receive a benefit?

No. Eligible applicants will be placed on a prioritized waitlist. When funding for benefits is made available, the eligible applicants with the highest priority score on our waitlist will be the first to be contacted for next steps.

When will I get the benefit?

RAB will be offered on a point-based scoring system. Heartland Housing Foundation will offer benefits to applicants with the highest point score in the community they are applying for as funding is available. You must give Heartland Housing Foundation your banking information so direct deposit payments can be set up.

What does receiving RAB mean?

Your eligibility will be assessed every year. If you remain eligible and funding is available, you will continue to receive the benefit. There is no limit to the number of times your RAB agreement can be renewed, subject to funding availability.

Who is my landlord?

Your landlord will be the individual or organization with whom you have a tenancy agreement. Heartland Housing Foundation is not the landlord. Your agreement with Heartland Housing Foundation is just for the rental assistance benefit.

I have more questions!

Please contact our office if you have any more questions about RAB. 

Email: applications@heartlandhousing.ca
Phone: (780) 400-3511

 

 

 

Applying for RAB

Please ensure your application is complete. Incomplete applications will result in processing delays. 

Eligible applicants will be contacted for an interview. Eligible applicants will be prioritized based on factors such as:

  • Number of dependents
  • Rent to income ratio and utility responsibility
  • Impacts to personal wellbeing
  • Health and safety risk
  • Identification as a member of a target population (see FAQs for more information)

RAB will be offered on a priority-scored system. Heartland Housing Foundation will offer benefits to applicants with the highest priority score as funding is available. See the FAQs below for more information about evaluation. 

Click "Apply for RAB" below to download the application form.

Apply for RAB

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Please contact our office if you have any more questions about RAB or if you need to make an appointment regarding your application. 

Email: applications@heartlandhousing.ca
Phone: (780) 400-3511