The provincial government says residents in the B.C. Peace and Northern Rockies now have access to emergency rent bank services aimed at supporting low to moderate income renters in crisis.
The province said Tuesday that it has provided $10 million in funding to the BC Rent Bank, which provides interest-free loans for tenants in urgent circumstances, such as unexpected interruptions to income, to ensure they do not lose their housing and face the prospect of homelessness.
The loans can be applied to rent or essential utilities, or toward the deposit or first month's rent for tenants who have secured housing but are unable to pay these requirements, the province said.
"Rent banks are temporary solutions for some people in housing crisis. 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 provincial minister responsible for housing, in a release. “I’m very proud these essential services are now offered in every part of the province."
The BC Rent Bank is a project of the Vancity Community Foundation, which has partnered with the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society on an interim basis to centralize rent bank services throughout the province, according to the province.
The province says the BC Rent Bank is working to secure long-term partners to localize services in Peace River and the Northern Rockies, and to support the delivery of other wraparound services to clients.
"This is a major milestone for our project to achieve, considering that two years ago there were seven rent bank locations primarily in the Metro Vancouver area," said Melissa Giles, project manager for BC Rent Bank, in the release. "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."
To learn more, visit bcrentbank.ca/locations.
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