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Common Questions

If I don’t get welfare this month I’ll lose my housing

Last reviewed in April 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors

If you have an urgent need for shelter, then you must ask for an “Immediate Needs Assessment” when you apply for welfare from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. If you are eligible for an Immediate Needs Assessment, the Ministry should complete your eligibility interview as soon as possible, within five business days. While you are waiting for your eligibility interview, the Ministry should make sure your immediate needs are met (for example, by giving you food vouchers, money or bus tickets if you need medical transportation, etc.).

Good starting points include:

  • BCEA Policy & Procedure Manual: Immediate Needs, from BC Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, has information about assessments to determine whether applicants have an immediate need for food, shelter or urgent medical attention. It describes the requirements, how to find interpretation services, and the steps to take if an immediate need is identified. 
  • Chapter 21: Welfare (Income Assistance) Law, from the UBC LSLAP Manual, has an overview of eligibility, including the application process. This chapter also explains what an immediate needs assessment is.

Need more help?

  • Find an Advocate, from PovNet, provides a list of community advocates who may be able to provide information or assistance regarding welfare.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap

See our related common questions:

applying for welfare, income assistance, hardship assistance, welfare and housing, hardship benefits