In June 2019, the Province of BC made a one-time grant of $10-million to the Vancity Community Foundation for it to steward the development of a sustainable provincial rent bank program over a three-year period. The project, entitled BC Rent Bank, is set to support the existing ten rent banks and grow services throughout the province. And, of course, the money from the Province is intended to complement and not to replace any of the existing or other emerging sources of financial support for rent banks. The goal is that regardless of where you live in the province, you can be supported to help maintain your housing.
A rent bank is a homelessness prevention tool that is focused on providing housing stability for low- to moderate-income renters. A rent bank provides financial assistance in the form of repayable loans to households at risk of eviction for reasons such as non-payment of rent or utilities and security deposits to individuals moving between housing.
In addition to providing loans, many rent banks also assist with the following:
- Advocate on behalf of individuals to landlord/tenancy boards, utility corporations, etc.
- Mediate conversations between individual tenants and their landlords and other parties.
- Referral to other agencies for access to food, clothing, transportation support, and so on.
- Identify government subsidies, programs and/or benefits that individuals may be eligible for.
- Where applicable, offer access to financial literacy and money management skills.
We know that in working towards solutions for renters in the province we need all stakeholders – tenants, landlords, regulators, investors, service providers, and developers – talking together to bring greater understanding to the realities that all parties face. Additionally, we know that the growth and sustainability of rent banks will require the support of all stakeholders.
*This information was provided by the BC Rent Bank.