Are you short on rent this month? Is your utility bill overdue? Do you need help with getting a security deposit?
These are some of the common reasons why someone would use a rent bank, and in the new year, residents of the Central Okanagan can look forward to accessing this service.
BC Rent Bank is bringing five new rent banks to communities in British Columbia, to offer more housing stability to renters in the province. In the Central Okanagan, BC Rent Bank has partnered with CMHA Kelowna to introduce the new service.
“We are working hard to expand the rent bank network in B.C. by partnering with non-profits in communities throughout the province to bring these much-needed rent bank services to even more people,” says BC Rent Bank project lead Melissa Giles.
“With funding from the Provincial Government, we have been able to provide seed funding to new locations and we’re achieving our mandate of supporting renters by preventing homelessness.”
Rent banks aim to help renters in low or moderate income households who cannot pay their rent or utilities due to unforeseen circumstances. Rent banks provide small and interest-free loans to eligible people who have the ability to repay the loans over a six-24 month period.
"With the pressures from the rising cost of living, there are many people who are only a paycheque or two away from not being able to pay their rent," says CMHA Kelowna executive director Shelagh Turner.
"The launch of the Central Okanagan Rent Bank pilot in January 2021 will help to increase housing stability in our community by offering interest-free, repayable loans to eligible renters in the Central Okanagan."
Those who use the rent bank will have the ability to access other supports such as financial advice, mediation between renters and landlords, community services and more.
BC Rent Bank was created in June 2019 and by January 2021, there will be 16 in the province.
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