Financial solutions led by empathy, compassion, and trauma-informed approaches
Cynthia* was in crisis when she contacted BC Rent Bank. She was suffering from serious injuries inflicted by her estranged parent, who has since been jailed for attacking her. Cynthia had only returned to live in this unsafe home because she had nowhere else to turn after experiencing the suicide of her partner, with whom she had been living.
At only 22-years-old, Cynthia found herself alone and struggling. She had to pay rent, but she had no income. She had not been able to maintain her job through the grief and pain she was living. Without income, she was running out of time and options. She would be homeless in a short time.
She needed help.
Cynthia picked up the phone and called BC Rent Bank for help. She spoke to project lead Melissa Giles directly. Melissa was able to direct her to the online application through bcrentbank.ca and encouraged her to call her local rent bank with any questions she may have.
Within a few hours, Ashley at Sources Rent Bank connected with Cynthia. Ashley provided Cynthia reassurance that they would be able to provide support and, within a few days, Cynthia’s landlord had received a rent cheque that prevented Cynthia from becoming homeless. Ashley also put Cynthia in touch with another community agency that could assist her with a $450 per month housing subsidy, as needed, for up to a year.
Ashley worked to help connect Cynthia with a broader support system, including access to non-profit trauma counselling. Cynthia was able to access this counselling while securing affordable long-term housing and a future safe from harm.
“Empathy, compassion and trauma-informed practices, along with consideration of the whole person and their well-being, are part of the service that rent banks in B.C. strive to deliver,” says Melissa Giles. “Stable and safe housing is the building block that can set people on their journey of long-term healing.”
*Cynthia is not her real name.