More rent banks now available to low-income renters unable to pay rent in time of crisis

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B.C. becomes first province to provide 100% rent bank coverage

VANCOUVER: Fifteen new regional districts in BC will now have access to rent bank services. This will make BC first province to provide 100% rent bank coverage to BC residents.

According to a media release issues by BC, 8% of B.C.’s renter population across 15 regional district, until now, had not been covered by the rent banks. But a partnership between BC Rent Bank and the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society, will extend rent bank services to those reginal districts.

The new regional districts that now have access to rent bank services are Alberni-Clayoquot, Bulkley-Nechako, Cariboo, Central Coast, Comox, Cowichan Valley, Fraser-Fort George, Kitimat-Stikine, Mount Waddington, Northern Rockies, South Okanagan, Peace River, Qathet, North Coast, Squamish-Lillooet and Strathcona.

Rent banks provide interest-free loans for tenants in urgent circumstances so they do not lose their housing. BC Rent Bank, a project of the Vancity Community Foundation, is partnering with the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society on an interim basis to centralize rent bank services throughout the province. This means people in communities that did not previously have access to rent bank loans and services, including on Vancouver Island, in the south Okanagan and in northern B.C., can now access help to stay in stable housing wherever they are in the province.

“I’d like to extend my gratitude to the BC Rent Bank and Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society for its work to help people in financial distress in our province,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.

“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, Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society.

BC Rent Bank, which is supported by a $10-million investment from the provincial government, is working to secure long-term partners to provide rent bank services in each of the newly covered 15 regions to localize services and support the delivery of other wraparound services to rent bank clients.

“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. I’m very proud these essential services are now offered in every part of the province,” said Eby.

BC Rent Bank is a project of Vancity Community Foundation and funded by the Province of B.C.

To apply for rent bank loans in communities within the 15 regional districts that have new coverage, tenants must live in or be moving to the community serviced and should apply online: www.bcrentbank.ca/apply

The Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society is a community-based charitable/non-profit agency that offers programs and services in the areas of housing and community justice to people in the Kamloops area, with a focus on women and families. For more information, visit: www.kamloopsefry.com

To find a list of communities that are served by BC Rent Bank, visit: https://bcrentbank.ca/locations/

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/