About Us

We believe in the power of education to transform lives.

 
We provide high-quality housing and lifeskills education to help people have successful tenancies.

Rent Smart Education and Support Society (RSESS) believes in the transformative power of education to help individuals and families to find and maintain their housing, increase successful tenancies and prevent housing instability and homelessness.

What is Rent Smart?
Rent Smart provides education and support to tenants, landlords and community champions with one goal: Successful Tenancies. Successful tenancies are key to building strong communities, increasing housing stability and preventing homelessness.

Rent Smart

Our Story

Rent Smart Education and Support Society (renamed from Ready to Rent BC in October 2019) was founded by a group of citizens and service-related agencies in the Victoria region that came together to find solutions for unstably housed and homeless families.

Our first course was piloted in 2009, and Rent Smart Education and Support Society was incorporated in 2011. Between 2009-2014, Rent Smart Education and Support Society delivered the program and continually improved and measured the impact. Since 2009, RSESS has delivered education to over 6000 people. Community Partners have an opportunity to certify staff to become Rent Smart Community Educators.

In 2014, Rent Smart Education and Support Society hosted the first Train the Trainer program to share the model with other communities on Vancouver Island.

Teamwork

In 2015, Rent Smart became the new program name, and Community Educators received training across BC. RentSmart Educator training expanded to include principles of Adult Education and Transformative Training (part of the reason why Rent Smart is effective), and Facilitation practice. In 2017, Rent Smart was adapted to Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.

Rent Smart Education (Ready to Rent BC Association) is a Registered Charity in Canada under # 80 635517 RR 0001. 

Our goal is to continue to share Rent Smart with communities across Canada who are looking for a proven educational support program that helps both tenant and landlords to have successful tenancies.

Our small but mighty

Rent Smart Team

Linda Amy

Executive Director

Linda brings with her an extensive background in the high impact non-profit sector and entrepreneurial expertise that enables Rent Smart to continue building its great legacy. She embraces a vision in which exceptional staff, community partners and board members strive together to build equitable, diverse, engaged and flourishing communities.

Her aim is to build capacity and work with local and national partners to meet the needs for tenant and landlord education, and advocate for affordable and accessible housing.

Andrew Holeton

Director of Operations + Program Development

Building on a background in small business management, Andrew has worked in the community and social enterprise sector for 18 years within the operational, developmental, policy and advocacy roles. Following a decade of frontline experience in BC and Ontario, his past positions include management roles in employment services, skills training, and youth programs. After serving as Director of Social Enterprise with the Learning Enrichment Foundation in Toronto, Andrew and his wife moved to Victoria in 2015. Prior to working at Rent Smart, Andrew was a Program Director with the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria.

Andrew lives with his wife and daughter in View Royal.

Vivek Kumar Kanojia

Office Manager

Vivek helps in supporting and managing the accounting side of the organization. He grew up in a small town of Punjab and spent a couple years exploring the Himalayas before coming to Canada.

He graduated from Camosun College in Business Studies specializing in Accounting and Finance. Previously, he helped co-managing many local businesses. His daily motivation comes from the satisfaction he gets from working for a nonprofit organization.

Vivek is a professional inline skater who loves bowling and rock climbing. On days off you’ll find him hiking.

Jess Bowers-Ching

Manager of Communications and Engagement

Jess has been involved in community building and social justice work for over 15 years. From interning at Human Rights Watch as well as Food First, a grassroots Institute for Food and Development Policy in California to working in homelessness prevention and food security, at Our Place and Pacifica Housing in Victoria, Jess is committed to building sustainable, healthy communities.

As the Manager of Communications and Engagement Coordinator at Rent Smart, Jess is passionate about building a strong network of organizations all with the shared goal of building housing stability and preventing homelessness across Canada.

Jacqueline Rimmer

Graphic + Website Designer

Jacqueline has worked in the graphic, web design and marketing industries for over twenty years and brings a varied skillset – having worked in environments such as elearning, magazine and book publishing, advertising agencies, and art directing in product-based marketing companies.

She’s volunteered with many non-profits, including Victoria Bike to Work, Hero Work, along with many local and international small businesses.

Jacqueline helps to keep Rent Smart consistent with its message and visual brand. She is part of the communications, digital + print publishing team who takes care of the website design, social media communications, and housing education course materials for both educators and participants.

She’s passionate about social advocacy and supports human rights initiatives in her spare time. She is also an avid photographer, artist and entrepreneur.

Kami Van Halst

Master Trainer + Public Education Specialist

Kami is our newest RentSmart Educator trainer and facilitator. She has worked in a variety of facilitation roles for the past six years.

In 2014, she was the Digital Media and Campaign Manager for Rescue Social Change Group which was instrumental in Alberta’s bill to ban the sale of flavoured tobacco. From there, she moved to Toronto and worked as the Youth Engagement Facilitator with the Youth Advocacy Training Institute (YATI). During her time with YATI, Kami worked with multiple organizations throughout the province and taught workshops and seminars about different ways to advocate for change. This position sparked a passion for facilitation and working with a broad variety of priority populations.

Kami is also a musician and performs in a variety of projects.

Christina Elliot

BC Provincial Coordinator + Public Education Specialist

Christina has several years of experience working in the front lines of subsidized housing as well as in various social service roles including support work with youth and homeless populations. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology with a major in Family Studies from the University of Manitoba in 2001. Christina became a RentSmart Educator in 2016 and has facilitated several courses since then to tenants in the Fraser Valley.  She has a passion for empowering tenants by helping them navigate the challenging world of rental housing and believes strongly in the preventive power of education.

Christina lives in the Fraser Valley where she can often be found enjoying the beautiful West Coast outdoors. Her favorite hobbies revolve around food – growing, preparing, and of course enjoying it!

Jessica Seburn

Manager of Engagement and Provincial Coordinator (Ontario/Alberta)

Jessica brings with her experience from working within a variety of non-profit social service agencies. Most recently she has been working front line within the housing sector; ranging from crisis support to housing stability with her tenants.

Jessica has graduated from her local college as a Social Service Worker in 2017. She is passionate about helping tenants to understand and navigate the system so that they have successful tenancies and maintain their housing.

Jessica was previously the Provincial Coordinator for Rent Smart Ontario, and is excited to be a part of the Rent Smart Education and Support Society team to continue supporting Ontario Educators, as well as expand to support Alberta Educators now too!

Michelle McElroy

BC Provincial and Community Education Facilitator

Michelle relocated to Victoria, BC with her family in 2019 from the sunny Okanagan where she had over 20 years of frontline experience with children, youth + families.

She is a long standing member of the Canadian Red Cross. Her involvement has included teaching Red Cross First Aid Programs, facilitating the RESPECT Education programs and currently as a facilitator of the Psychological First Aid Program.

A majority of Michelle’s work and free time goes into working and volunteering with youth and young adults, especially those who are dealing with past or present trauma. She currently volunteers as a Yoga Outreach Facilitator and teaches TCTSY – trauma Sensitive Yoga.

Michelle is passionate about helping people who have had difficulties in the rental market. Especially those who have suffered from discrimination, racism, or marginalization. She wants to enable them to know what is needed in today’s rental economy to find appropriate, long term homes, not just rentals.

Michelle is excited to work with past graduates of the Rent Smart program and the Educators who make the program possible throughout BC. She helps to build a stronger network of Rent Smart Community Educators, who will in turn, promote housing stability and homelessness prevention within their individual communities.

Susana Guardado

Nunavut Project Lead and Curriculum Developer

Susana has been working in the field of Community Development for the past 20 years. She has worked internationally and locally with marginalized and vulnerable populations, developing programs that foster community voice and engagement. Susana is a skilled content and process facilitator with a keen interest in transformational adult learning practices. Currently, she enjoys incorporating her new-found passion: visual facilitation, and exploring how visuals can deepen conversations and understanding. She is a dedicated community builder, working across differences and across cultures, creating connection with diverse stakeholders.

Susana is originally from El Salvador and has called Canada home since she was 17. She is a lover of world music and can be found enjoying Victoria’s many outdoor music festivals.

Rent Smart

BOARD MEMBERS

Emily Baillie (President)

Kate Lambert

Kaela Schramm

Vincent Baart

Sharon Grigg

Carly Abrahams

Kathy Stinson

Dale Schuss (Treasurer & Secretary)

Lilaine Galway

We are generously

Funded + Supported by

Thanks to all our funders and donors who support the development, growth and innovation of Rent Smart.

United Way
BC Housing
Vancity
Victoria Foundation
McConnell Foundation
City of Calgary
Coast Capital Savings
Sparc BC

We’re excited to be in

Partnership with

BC Non-Profit Housing Association
Nunavut Literacy Council
Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness
TRAC

"Rent Smart helped me to build confidence with finding housing.

It helped me to be a better tenant and gave me knowledge about my rights and responsibilities. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with housing to gain more knowledge about being a responsible tenant. Oh and I got a place very quickly!”– Rent Smart Student

"It helps young people moving out for the first time.

They take in a lot of information they were not aware of. It also gives them more confidence and prepares them to start looking at places.”

– RentSmart Educator

#211-611 Discovery Street
Victoria, BC V8T 5G4 

 

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