Tenants facing eviction in Vancouver because they can't pay the rent will soon have a lifeline with the establishment of the city's first rent bank.
The bank will provide interest-free loans in the $500-to -$800 range to applicants facing imminent eviction, said Vision Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, adding that this will be an important measure to prevent homelessness.
An undisclosed amount of seed funding is being provided by Fiore Financial Corp. president and CEO Frank Giustra, and Jang said he expects this will cover the bulk of the bank's operating costs. Details are still being finalized and it's too early to say whether the city will provide any funding, Jang added.
There is already a rent bank operating in Surrey and Jang said data from jurisdictions throughout North America suggest the loan repayment rate is 75 per cent or better.
"Most of the people who use the rent bank are people who are working, but have to make the choice between feeding the kids, paying the rent or paying the hydro," Jang explained.