Low- to moderate-income renters in the Comox Valley facing a financial challenge now have access to rent bank services, which provide interest-free loans.
The Province recently announced that all B.C. districts can access the services provided by BC Rent Bank.
Loans up to $3,500 are available for tenants in urgent circumstances so they don’t lose their housing. Repayment terms can range from six months to three years. Loans can be applied to rent or utilities, or toward the deposit or first month’s rent for tenants who have secured housing but are unable to pay these requirements.
“It really hits a target market that we don’t always get to service,” said Angela Fletcher, co-ordinator of the Comox Valley Coalition to End Homelessness. “It’s a great option.”
She notes that many renters earning a moderate income struggle to make ends meet on a month-to-month basis, especially in light of rental increases and home costs. An interest-free loan could be a life-saver in the event of a crisis, such as dental work or car repairs.
“I think it’s a great service, an opportunity for our community, because it does hit some people that we can’t always help,” Fletcher said.
BC Rent Bank is a project of the Vancity Community Foundation. The province provided $10 million to the project, which needs local agencies to provide the service.
“Rent banks are temporary solutions for some people in housing crisis,” David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, said in a news release. “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.”