BC Rent Bank sees daily requests triple on first day after province-wide rollout – Coast Mountain News


On Tuesday, British Columbia became the first province in Canada to offer rental banking services to all residents, and the BC Rent Bank has already seen three times its daily average of new requests.

The province has expanded the service through a partnership with the BC Rent Bank and the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society.

“Today, tenants across British Columbia have access to bank loans and rental services. This is an important milestone for our project to reach, given that two years ago there were seven rent banks, mainly in the Metro Vancouver area ”, said Melissa Giles, Project Manager for the BC Rent Bank.

Giles explained that the microcredit program helps people pay their monthly rents or arrears to landlords or utilities to avoid evictions.

“Perceptions of programs like ours are really interesting, but at the end of the day there are people who are working and they are facing a temporary crisis or an obstacle in the road,” she said. “In a lot of cases they are able to navigate and get by, but sometimes it’s just a little too much.”

However, due to a lack of capacity for a local group to host the service, a temporary solution had to be found.

“Our ideal vision is that we have local partners who can respond. They know the local market rental rates, they have references to their local agencies and that sort of thing, ”Giles said. “We didn’t want tenants to continue to wait for services and not be able to receive assistance due to the fact that we couldn’t find a community partner to run the program. “

If the program was all about microloans, Giles said they would have centralized everything and done everything from Vancouver a long time ago. Part of what rental banks do is make sure customers are able to get back on their feet after struggling.

“Rental banks do so much more for people. They’re looking to make sure that “hey, this person needs all the other help out there,” and they put people in touch with local resources that will help stabilize things, ”said Giles. “We miss it when we have to go through this province-wide option, but I think it’s the best thing right now to make sure tenant needs are met while we continue to work on this. long term goal. “

Giles will connect the Kamloops and District Elizabeth Fry Society, the BC Rent Bank partner organization, with local groups like CRDECH to create a database of local supports for their case managers.

The 15 regions that now have access to rental banking 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.

Those interested in applying for a loan from BC Rent Bank can do so at bcrentbank.ca and by clicking on the “Apply” button.

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