Colwood is set to help renters at risk of homelessness stay in their homes thanks to council’s approval to provide $30,000 per year for the rent bank program.
The program, part of the regional Greater Victoria Rent Bank Program, which provides up to $3,000 in no-interest, repayable loans to households at risk of eviction due to an inability to pay rent or essential utilities.
In 2022, the program provided loans to 258 households, five per cent of which were in Colwood, according to a staff report presented to council on Feb. 27.
In an effort to increase participation in the program among Colwood residents, city staff said they will request the organization provide Colwood-specific branding on their site so the city will be able to promote it more effectively though their own channels.
At the Feb. 27 meeting, council unanimously supported providing the funding, with multiple councillors voicing their personal support for the program and acknowledging its importance in helping the town meet its own housing and affordability goals.
“I am happy to endorse this request, and I think it is a very suitable application of these funds,” said Coun. Dean Jantzen in moving council adopt the staff recommendation to approve the funding.
In that vein, the annual funding for the program is set to come from the city’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund, which staff told council currently sits at around $1.5 million and is funded entirely by developer contributions.
Tied to council’s approval of the funding is a requirement the organization provide annual reports to council on the performance of the Colwood Rent Bank Program prior to the following year’s annual budget deliberations.
Presenting to council on Monday, the organization said it already plans on compiling and presenting annual data on the program as they expect the program to evolve as it gains traction and more data comes in on the needs of its participants.
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