City staff propose 'renter centre' for Vancouver
A dedicated "renter centre" is one step closer to reality in Vancouver.
A city staff report being presented on Tuesday is calling for Vancouver councillors to approve a plan for a dedicated "renter centre."
The report from the city's general manager of arts, culture and community services called for better protection for renters who face displacement from their homes.
"While the existing landscape of multiple service providers in multiple locations has created a diverse, community-embedded set of services and supports, the sector lacks a strong centre to bring presence, visibility and profile to the needs of renters," the report reads.
"Coordinated policy changes can strengthen renters’ rights; however, unless renters are aware and able to pursue these rights, they remain at risk of displacement."
The proposed centre would partner with existing services provided by the city, Residential Tenancy Branch and non-profit advocacy groups.
"Locating both provincial (RTB) and city services at a physical site with non-profits can provide the critical one-stop shop for renters, decreasing the need for renters to navigate through and across city departments," the report reads.
It noted that renters make up over 150,000 households in the city, with the highest proportion of rental households falling in the West End, Strathcona and Mount Pleasant neighbourhoods.
The report proposes the office could be located at 900 Howe Street, which would allow for ease of access and provide enough space to host multiple organizations and services.
But staff has a word of caution for those hoping for a quick resolution.
"While the provincial government and non-profit service providers have expressed interest in collaborating in the delivery of the Renter Centre, staff needs more time to determine the specific scope and scale of partnership and to explore and align co-investments."
Besides the creation of a renters’ office, the report makes five recommendations to implement over the next two years, including a renter services funding program, training specialists to help tenants who face relocation, and the creation of a renter advocacy and services team.
In all, the recommendations would total $5.64 million.