(FIle photo)

(FIle photo)

Rent bank could soon be coming to the Central Okanagan

Bank would aim to help low-income families maintain their housing in the region

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) is looking to help establish a rent bank in the Central Okanagan.

RDCO community services director Todd Cashin said a rent bank could help some families to maintain their housing in the region.

“Rent banks are a homelessness prevention tool that is focused on providing housing stability for low- to moderate-income renters,” said Cashin in an open letter to the RDCO governance and services committee.

“Rent banks provide financial assistance in the form of repayable loans to households at risk of eviction for reasons such as non-payment of rent or utilities.”

Cashin said rent banks could also benefit Central Okanagan residents who need money to cover a damage deposit when they move.

READ MORE: An ongoing struggle with poverty

In 2019, the B.C. Rental Housing Task Force granted $10 million to the Vancity Community Foundation to help establish a province-wide rent bank system called B.C Rent Bank. Now, Vancouver Rent Bank and the New Westminister Rent Bank are some of the first rent banks operating in the province.

Cashin said the majority of Central Okanagan residents supported a rent bank in a recent survey conducted by the RDCO, the City of Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission.

“(In the survey) 96 per cent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that Central Okanagan residents would benefit from a rent bank,” said Cashin.

“Ninty-three per cent of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that a rent bank should be established in the Central Okanagan.”

On March 3, 2020, all three parties also hosted a BC rent bank information session at the Coast Capri Hotel. During the session, eight organizations came forward and expressed their potential interest to operate a Central Okanagan rent bank.

To learn more about operating a rent bank in the Central Okanagan, you can visit B.C. Rent Bank’s website.


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