Community

MCC rent assistance program a lifesaver

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Victor (not his real name) is a hard-working man, a “jack-of-all-trades” who isn’t afraid of physical labour and who endeavours to do his best.

He was gainfully employed with a rental company doing maintenance work and often went above and beyond his job description.

But all of that changed when a new manager took over. 

During a series of events over an extended period of time, he was treated unfairly, harassed and eventually fired.

After months of fighting with Employment Insurance over his claim, he is still in limbo and was facing the loss of his home.

“It is only because of the unexpected help from MCC’s Rent Assistance project that I was able to pay my rent,” he said, adding that he was referred to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) BC by Abbotsford Community Services. “MCC really saved my life.”

The Fraser Valley Rent Assistance Project is administered by MCC BC, with financial support from several agencies including the Abbotsford Community Foundation and in collaboration with Fraser Valley service agencies.

The project provides emergency loans and grants for families and individuals who are at risk of losing their homes, to pay for security deposits, utility deposits and arrears, and rent.

“MCC BC is grateful for the financial support from the Abbotsford Community Foundation,” said Ron van Wyk, MCC BC’s director of programs.

For Victor, a resident of Abbotsford, the project allowed him to keep his home.

He feels positive about his future and plans to start his own renovation business.

Another component to the Rent Assistance Project is financial management, counseling and training.

One of the project’s goals is to build knowledge and skills in effective money management. Loans are expected to be repaid over a mutually agreed payment schedule.

Celestina Fazal, who coordinates MCC’s project, said it is a much-needed initiative for those who are working hard to take care of themselves and their families, but have fallen behind for various reasons.

“They just need a bit of help so they don’t fall that one step further into homelessness,” Fazal said.

The Rent Assistance Project is made possible by additional financial support from Service Canada, the Vancouver Foundation, Coast Capital and the United Way of the Fraser Valley.

For more information and to determine your eligibility for the Rent Assistance Project, visit bc.mcc.org/whatwedo/fvrap

 

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