HomeNewsIsland & CoastNanaimo Rent Bank receives increased funding to help those in need 

Nanaimo Rent Bank receives increased funding to help those in need 

The Nanaimo Region Rent Bank program will get an influx of $75,000 from the Online Accommodation Platform fund and city staff have been directed to work with BC Rent Bank to ensure rent loans are being distributed to key areas of housing. 

The Nanaimo Regional Rent Bank program was developed in 2020 to help low-to-moderate-income renters who are facing eviction or in need, or to pay essential utilities because of short-term financial costs. 

According to a report to council, people who receive rent bank are typically those who do not qualify for traditional loans due to poor credit scores, unstable work, and/or who don’t have other collateral to secure the loans.  

The report says on average 65 to 70 per cent of loans are repaid to rent banks across BC. They don’t charge interest, nor do they act as collection agencies.  

Community development and social planner Christy Wood says rent bank loans provide relief in many different capacities, but applicants are evaluated on a strict assessment.  

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“Maybe the tenants can’t pay their rent that month, or a utility bill,” she says. “Rent bank can also be used as a damage deposit if the applicant needs to move. 

“They need to have the capacity to pay it back, so applicants will need to provide bank records, employment records.” 

Wood says this beneficial program does more than just provide financial relief to renters. It also offers a wide range of associated programs to improve and educate applicants.  

“Rent banks also help people access government benefits, debt consolidation, financial literacy, employment resources as well as other community-based services,” she says. “It is really focused on helping the renter beyond their immediate crisis.” 

In 2020 the city worked with the former Nanaimo Homeless Coalition to help build a local rent bank, and according to Wood the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition selected the John Howard Society (Connective Society) to spearhead the Rent Bank Program.  

“The application was successful, and the Nanaimo Region Rent Bank began issuing loans in 2021,” she says. 

The Nanaimo Rent Bank is part of the BC Rent Bank with funding provided by the province.  

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