Rent-bank services will now be available throughout the province, including four new communities on Vancouver Island.
The service, which offer interest-free loans for tenants in dire need so they don’t lose their housing, will now be available to low-income families in the Alberni-Clayoquot, Comox, Cowichan Valley and Mount Waddington regional districts. It was already available elsewhere on the Island.
“While they are not the ultimate solution to affordable housing generally, the services rent banks offer are vital to prevent homelessness and must be available to all British Columbians,” said Attorney General David Eby.
The B.C. Rent Bank, a project of the Vancity Community Foundation, has partnered with the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society on an interim basis to centralize rent bank services throughout the province.
B.C. Rent Bank is supported by a $10-million investment from the provincial government.
“Today, renters in every corner of B.C. have access to rent bank loans and services,” said Melissa Giles, the bank’s project manager. “Rent banks are much more than lenders. We are very much focused on the whole person — the renter who is experiencing housing insecurity and financial shocks – and we are striving to care for their well-being beginning with stable and safe housing.”
While the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society will co-ordinate coverage temporarily, the bank is working to secure long-term partners that will cover the 15 new regions added to the network.
“We are excited to take on this interim role because we understand first-hand that there is a deep need for rent bank services and being able to receive these applications translates into many more renters having access to emergency funding to stabilize their housing,” said Cassandra Schwarz, executive director of the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society.