Vancouver renters facing the prospect of eviction may get some temporary relief from a "rent bank" launched by the city this week.

The Vancouver Rent Bank was announced Wednesday as part of Homelessness Action Week. Its purpose is to help renters facing temporary financial difficulties, the Georgia Straight reported.

Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang says the program provides short-term, interest-free loans to people who can prove they can pay the money back within two years.

He pointed out the loans could help prevent as many as 1,600 evictions per year.

The loans are provided on a one-time basis and can go to costs such as rent, deposits or utility bills, and they're issued directly to landlords or creditors, the Province reports.

The Radcliffe Foundation provided $366,000 in seed money through the Streettohome Foundation to start the rent bank, which has also received funding from the Vancouver Foundation and the city. It will be administered by the Network of Inner City Community Services Society.

Frank Giustra, Radcliffe Foundation president and mining magnate, said the project "provides individuals and families who are down on their luck with some hope, which I know will carry on into their children’s lives, into their communities and throughout the city.”

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