The Greater Victoria Rent Bank has seen an overwhelming need for financial assistance by renters. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Greater Victoria Rent Bank has seen an overwhelming need for financial assistance by renters. (Black Press Media file photo)

Funding will allow Greater Victoria Rent Bank to operate until March 2022

More than $300,000 distributed to 200 renters in program’s first 10 weeks

Renters struggling to meet ends meet can apply to the Greater Victoria Rent Bank (GVRB) program until March 2022, thanks to new funding from United Way Greater Victoria and renewed commitment from BC Rent Bank.

Since February, the GVRB has operated as a pilot project under the Community Social Planning Council (CSPC) with funding from BC Rent Bank. Like other rent banks in 300 communities across the province, the GVRB provides small interest-free loans, mediation and financial literacy services for renters in short-term or unanticipated shortages of income. Loans may also be complemented by grants “where funding allows,” according to a press release from the CSPC.

“The demand for the COVID-19 pilot program was overwhelming,” said Diana Gibson, executive director of the Community Social Planning Council. In its first 10 weeks, more than $300,000 had been distributed to 200 renters, she said.

RELATED STORY: Financial help on its way for at-risk Greater Victoria renters

According to Gibson, as many applicants applied as a result of their units being sold as those who applied due to pandemic-related income loss. “Housing market pressures are a part of the driving force [for the GVRB’s need],” said Gibson.

Nearly half of Greater Victoria households are housing insecure, according to Melissa Giles, BC Rent Bank’s project lead, with one in five spending more than half of their income on housing.

“And we know that rent banks provide much-needed services, which is the reason we are building the foundation of a provincial network that is making a real difference in renters’ lives right here in Greater Victoria,” she said

David Eby, minister responsible for housing, said part of addressing the homelessness crisis is preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place.

“Rent banks have been proven to be successful in helping people in financial distress keep their homes,” he said.

United Way Greater Victoria CEO Mark Breslauer said his organization was proud to be a “foundational supporter” of the GVRB, and thanked the government of B.C. for leading the way for the initiative.

Although the United Way’s support is vital seed funding, Gibson said that larger and consistent funds are required for the program to survive long-term.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

BC HousingHomelessness

Just Posted

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

The stretch of trail north of Royal Bay Secondary connecting to Painters Trail at Murray’s Pond will be closed temporarily this week for invasive species removal. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood trail behind Royal Bay Secondary temporarily closed for invasive species removal

Cloure in effect from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Friday this week

Proposed design for the Topaz Park bike and skate park elements. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Victoria requesting feedback on Topaz Park redesign

Public input now being taken for proposed skate, bike park ideas

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read