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Tri-Cities 'rent bank' contributes to a 94% housing stability rate in B.C.: report

The province says the local service has helped prevent eviction and homelessness across the region.
Keys to house
House keys. | File photo

Despite a housing crisis that includes arising cost of living, government officials claim B.C.'s housing stability rate is doing just fine.

And that's with help from a regional organization and its goal of preventing eviction and homelessness in the Tri-Cities.

According to a survey shared by the province today (Aug. 17), BC Rent Bank has contributed to an increase in housing security.

Results show 94 per cent of its respondents said they were able to stay in the same house or improve their overall situation thanks to a $10-million government investment.

Each respondent was asked about their current predicament six months after receiving financial aid.

What is a rent bank?

The BC Rent Bank project partners with community-based agencies to offer rental services, including SHARE Family and Community Services that covers Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra.

Its website states the Tri-Cities rent bank "makes loans available" to those who qualify under certain circumstances.

"In response to the impact of COVID-19 - June 1-September 30, 2020 - The SHARE Rent Bank is able to provide some grants, along with loans, where a Tri-Cities resident has a short term financial problem paying their rent or utilities or a security deposit on a new local rental home," SHARE explains.

SHARE says loans are expected to be repaid between 18 and 24 months after receiving the funds.

The project — led by the Vancity Community Foundation — is funded by the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

Survey results

The BC Rent Bank's survey was conducted between April 1 and June 30, 2021, and the province says the project reached out to every household that received financial assistance.

The 94 per cent is broken down two-fold, according to a release; most respondents (83 per cent) said they stayed in the same home, while 67 per cent of those who did not were able to move to "better housing."

As well, 61 per cent of survey participants explained they would've been out on the street if not for the rent bank services.

"These survey results show the positive impact that rent banks have on British Columbians who face housing instability," says Murray Rankin, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, in a news release.

"The Province is proud to support BC Rent Bank, which helps British Columbians in every part of the province."

Popular reasons among residents that applied for the BC Rent Bank programs included:

  • Maintaining custody of their children
  • Engage in recovery from addictions
  • Resume employment

"I can't say enough about how profoundly this program helped me by not having to worry about all the volatility that I was going through with the pandemic," an anonymous rent bank survey respondent said in the same release.

"It gave me breathing room. I didn't have to give up my car, so I ended up being able to get more jobs and have a means of getting there. Six months later, I am stable again. I was just a moment when I needed help, a moment that could very well have made me and my family homeless."

Preventing an eviction saves nearly $3,000 in tenants' money and almost $8,700 in landlords' expenses, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) adds.

For more information on the Tri-Cities rent bank, you can visit SHARE Family and Community Services' website, call 604-529-5146 or email directly: [email protected]