The Central Okanagan may join Kamloops by creating a rent bank to ease the risk of homelessness | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The Central Okanagan may join Kamloops by creating a rent bank to ease the risk of homelessness

Some of those who camped on Leon Avenue last fall might have been able to stay in their homes if they'd had a rent bank to turn to.
March 11, 2020 - 6:00 PM

The Central Okanagan may join Kamloops and Prince George in bringing in a new style of banking specifically for people on the brink of homelessness.

The B.C. government has jumped on board to provide funding to support existing banks and start new ones and Central Okanagan Regional District directors will get their first look at it this week.

The Kamloops Elizabeth Fry Society, for example, launched its rent bank in 2013 and there are now 10 in B.C., according to the Rent Bank B.C. website.

The idea will be presented to a committee of the Regional District of Central Okanagan March 12 promoting a region-wide initiative. This follows on the heels of a March 3 information session where eight of the non-profit organizations attending were potentially interested in taking it on.

At its most basic, the bank is designed to provide “repayable loans to households at risk of eviction for reasons such as non-payment of rent or utilities,” the report to the board states.

Or it could be used to borrow money for things like damage deposits.

Other rent banks also advocate for renters and/or mediate between tenants and landlords, help tenants find other funding programs or find agencies that can help with food, clothing and transportation.

The exact parameters of what services this rent bank will provide have to be worked out by the organization running the bank, if one can be found, Dnaika Dudzik, the regional district’s environmental planner, told

If it’s supported by the committee, a more detailed report will be presented at a future regular meeting of the board to outline in more detail the process to set up a Rent Bank.

The goal is to have a bank operating this summer, Dadzik said.

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