COVID-19 has introduced significant uncertainty to our lives. A few days ago I delivered this message to all townhome tenants by email:
Subject: Caring for People in Crisis
A worldwide pandemic changes everything!
I love you and will do everything within my ability to ensure your housing security. It’s a privilege to serve people who care for their homes, communities, and financial commitments. If you can help others, please do.
You’ll find links to 3 short videos at the bottom of this message: the first is a professor’s explanation about our responsibility in preventing the spread; the second is the best little hand-washing video I could find; and the last is an encouraging word from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.
We will get through this. What we do next will determine the ease with which life returns to normal.
Aside from extraordinary new aid programs provided by our governments (federal, provincial, and local) and some deferred payment plans (addressed below), our bills still need to be paid. Rent, as always, is due by the first of each month.
To learn about support that may be available to you, please visit Government of Canada COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and COVID-19 info for Albertans. Be sure to click every link you think might apply to your particular situation. Both websites are regularly updated as the situation evolves.
Utility companies will defer bill payment for 3 months without penalty or interest. At the end of the deferment period, you’ll need to begin repayment of any amounts deferred. Note that utility costs may be higher if you spend more time at home due to self-isolation. I will try to avoid deferments so that I don’t have bigger bills at the end. You should do what works best for you. Contact your utility provider directly. (Remember to thank the person who serves you — even if wait times are long!)
On my side, I’ve learned that some lenders will defer residential mortgage payments. In every case additional interest (amounting to hundreds of dollars per month) accrues and repayment is required following the deferral period. I am also trying to avoid that.
We are in this together. Please do all you can to help yourself and help others. If you’re concerned about your home, please call me. I cannot give you free rent, but I promise I will treat you with dignity and we’ll figure this out.
Be strong and courageous!
Self-Isolating Encouragement from Chris Hadfield
Grace & Peace,