People and families facing a financial emergency will have a better support system to help pay rent and avoid eviction through a new rent bank of Harvest Project.
The North Shore Rent Bank provides short-term, no-interest loans to people at risk of eviction or disconnection of essential utilities because of a temporary shortage of funds. Harvest Project created the program with support from the Province, Vancity Community Foundation’s B.C. Rent Bank program and a private donation.
Harvest Project’s rent bank also provides financial coaching to help people pay back their loan and plan for the future. For the last 26 years, Harvest Project has helped people through programs that include one-to-one coaching and counselling, monthly grocery support, clothing programs and additional services tailored to meet specific needs.
Harvest Project is one of the first nine organizations throughout the province that have received funding through a $10-million government grant to the Vancity Community Foundation.
“When the threat of becoming homeless is removed, families can better focus on the challenges they face in moving forward to healthier lives. The B.C. government and the others funding our rent bank recognize this reality. Together, we can change lives and make our community better,” said Gary Ansell, executive director of Harvest Project.
Ansell added that Harvest Project continues to reach out with programs for those on the North Shore who need a ‘hand up.’
“Eviction is a very real fear for many families and individuals on the North Shore who are living paycheque to paycheque because of the high cost of living,” said Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale.
“Rent banks won’t magically solve our affordability crisis, but having one available in our community can mean the difference between staying housed and becoming homeless for someone who finds themselves a few dollars short when rent is due.”
Since June 2019, Vancity Community Foundation has distributed over $240,000 from this grant to existing rent banks and will provide resources and funding for organizations and communities that are interested in creating a new rent bank.
Since June 2019, B.C. rent banks have given over 100 emergency loans, helping 250 people maintain their housing.
Besides North Vancouver, rent banks will operate in Kamloops, Prince George, the Fraser Valley, Surrey, New Westminster, Richmond, Vancouver, North Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.