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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 improve 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 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 over 3,500 courses. 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.

rent smart

Impact

Our intended impact is to deliver a high-quality educational experience that is relevant and practical, increase the number and locations of Rent Smart courses offered each year and increase participants knowledge, skills and confidence to prepare for and maintain safe, appropriate housing.

We measure our impact in a number of ways:

%

Educators believe RentSmart Education is valuable to their clients

%

Graduates reported that taking a Rent Smart course provided them with the knowledge they needed to be a successful tenant

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.

ed@rentsmarteducation.org

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.

andrew@rentsmarteducation.org

Jacqueline Rimmer

Graphic + Website Designer/Marketing + Promotions/Social Media Specialist

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

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

Jacqueline has volunteered with many non-profits, including local Victoria Bike to Work, Hero Work, and various international charitable small businesses.

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

Amber Halpenny

Manager of Communications and Engagement/Provincial Coordinator (Alberta)

Amber brings a wealth of knowledge working in the non-profit sector with youth at risk as well as individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

She is familiar with housing first practices and spent much of her career working in collaboration with other agencies in the mission to end homelessness. Amber has been a RentSmart Educator through past roles, most recently as a private contractor delivering courses to the greater Calgary area.

Amber is passionate about prevention of homelessness which makes her work with RentSmart a great fit! Amber loves to facilitate and share her experience and knowledge with others where helpful. She is an active private landlord as well as current renter and can speak to both sides of the rental process. In her free time, Amber enjoys getting out in nature, especially the Rocky mountains, spending time with loved ones and being of service to her community.

amber@rentsmarteducation.org

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.

Inna Avdonina

Learning Designer

While being an educator for nearly a decade, Inna developed a love for Instructional Design and eLearning. With her experience designing a variety of curriculum and learning experiences, both in person and virtually, she found Instructional Design and eLearning was a great way to combine her talents.

When it comes to work, she’s interested in discovering new trends and solutions. Inna brings her creative vision to learning experience design, expanding beyond producing courses; she explores all options to customize a solution that fits the audience’s needs, keeping learning goals at the forefront. If Inna doesn’t know how to do something, she will, without a doubt – exhaust all options until she figures it out!

With Inna’s work, she considers the learner’s needs first, by designing eLearning that’s simple, aesthetically pleasing, and ultimately, user-friendly. She loves feedback as it gives a clearer picture and impact of her work. She keen for the opportunity to create experiences that learners actually enjoy!

Inna moved to Canada from Ukraine in 2019, and is endlessly grateful for the opportunity to live and work in this beautiful county. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and spending free time outdoors.

Sharon Warren

Master Trainer + Curriculum Developer

Sharon is a bilingual, corporate educator and expert professional development coach with 17 years experience supporting businesses and not-for-profit organizations in various industries. She has also worked with vulnerable populations in a Human Service Counsellor role for over 8 years.

Sharon currently holds a Master’s degree in Adult Education, a Bachelor Degree in Organizational Management, as well as a Diploma in Human Resource Management. She has also completed various courses in Human Service Counselling, which provides her with a keen insight to diverse needs and challenges experienced by diverse populations. Having pioneered and led numerous complex and multi-faceted professional development programs for publicly funded organizations, Sharon is an innovative strategist and an expert problem solver. She excels at determining the best processes for a variety of deliverables and demonstrates a pro-active, “think-outside-the-box” approach when supporting her learners.

Sharon currently lives in New Brunswick, however during her down time can been seen hunting and fishing in remote wilderness and coastline areas as a way to continue her Newfoundland culture and heritage.

sharon@rentsmarteducation.org

Brittney Boudreau

Master Trainer

Brittney is our newest RentSmart Educator trainer and facilitator. Brittney comes with over 10 years of experience working in the public service where she has assisted marginalized populations and hard to house clients in obtaining housing and accessing social programs.

Brittney also has experience working in the criminal justice system and non-profit sector helping community members navigate successful tenancies. She has worked in a variety of facilitation roles in the public and private sector over the past few years. Brittney has personal and professional experience as an experienced landlord and past tenant. She is passionate about educating and helping others in the community to prevent homelessness.

Brittney lives in Alberta and enjoys spending time in nature and outdoors with her family. Her hobbies include hiking in the mountains, travelling, and yoga!

brittney@rentsmarteducation.org

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!

christina@rentsmarteducation.org

Jessica Seburn

Manager of Engagement and Provincial Coordinator (Ontario)

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!

jessica.s@rentsmarteducation.org

Alyshia Judd

RentSmart Educator

Before joining Rent Smart, Alyshia worked for a subsidized housing provider for over 10 years, the last few as the Tenant Relations Manager. She began her journey in housing as a receptionist and soon began working directly with tenants, each day tackling a new challenge managing the rights and responsibilities of tenants.

During her time working in the housing sector, providing advice to family and friends almost became a second job. So, when she had the opportunity to become a Rent Smart facilitator she began offering the course alongside other resources. Looking to switch things up, Alyshia left her role as a housing provider and is excited to have accepted the position with Rent Smart as a full-time Educator.

Alyshia’s interests outside of work have always been animals and the outdoors. Along with her husband and miniature dachshund, she will soon be starting a new chapter of her life on an acreage in Kamloops, BC.

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.

Rent Smart

BOARD MEMBERS

Lilaine Galway (Chair)

Kathy Stinson (Treasurer & Secretary)

Carly Abrahams

Vincent Baart

Kate Lambert

Amanda-Rose Bourget

Molly Rotering

Brittany Buna

We are generously

Funded + Supported by

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

BC Housing
United Way South Vancouver Island
City of Calgary
Vancity
Victoria Foundation
Sparc BC
Coast Capital Savings

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

MAILING ADDRESS

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

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