Goal 2: Prevent people who are most vulnerable from becoming homeless

Prevention is the best solution to homelessness.

In September 2013, Streetohome celebrated the one year anniversary of the Vancouver Rent Bank, a project that provides a cost-effective solution to preventing homelessness caused by short-term financial crisis. The Vancouver Rent Bank is a multi-partner initiative involving the City of Vancouver, Streetohome Foundation, Vancouver Foundation, UBC and Vancity Community Foundation. The program is administered by the Network of Inner City Community Services Society (NICCSS). Streetohome funded the Rent Bank’s loan capital, made possible by a generous $365,800 gift from the Radcliffe Foundation.

Read the story of Christine, a single mom whose Rent Bank loan allowed her and her daughter to keep renting their home of eight years.

The Rent Bank prevented 228 people (including 34 children) from becoming homeless in 2013. In its first year of operation, the Rent Bank had an estimated 1200 telephone inquiries for loans and over 500 pre-assessments. While many applicants qualified for interest free loans payable over two years, others benefitted from tenant advocacy and referral to community services better suited to meet their needs. The program achieved a loan repayment rate of over 90%.

Mayor Gregor Robertson speaks at the Vancouver Rent Bank First Anniversary announcement.
Photo by Emily Jackson, Vancouver Metro

Streetohome also continued to fund Covenant House’s Semi-Independent Housing program for homeless or at-risk youth. With capacity for up to 30 people at a time, the program ensures that youth with mental health and addictions issues are effectively supported. It provides them with the stability they require to access existing housing in the community. Streetohome was able to support this valuable project because of generous donations of $250,000 from both Scotiabank and Bell Canada.

> Read Goal 3: Build broad public support and commitment for permanent solutions to homelessness.