Canopy Credit Union Launches Rental Assistance Program for Members Facing Hardship
When COVID-19 caused thousands of furloughs and layoffs in the Spokane area, Canopy acted fast by creating a zero-percent interest emergency loan.
In 2019, Canopy Credit Union, based in Spokane, Washington, received a Workforce Housing Planning grant from the Northwest Credit Union Foundation. The credit union partnered with Strategic Research Associates to use the grant dollars for community focus groups, which examined renters’ needs and the needs of affordable housing agencies.
After assessing opportunities for innovative financial services, Canopy launched a rental assistance loan to help members in low-income and underserved communities in the Spokane area. When the pandemic hit, Canopy recognized a shift in member and community needs and decided to act by refocusing its grant dollars.
Working with NWCUF, Canopy allocated leftover funds to a new emergency loan program that offered assistance to members facing COVID-19-related financial hardship.
“Now more than ever, safe affordable housing is a critical need in our community,” said Charlotte Nemec, President and CEO of Canopy. “We launched a personal loan special at the beginning of COVID-19 and witnessed the overwhelming need for assistance. Because there is continued need for financial assistance due to long–term furloughs and layoffs, we decided to create this emergency Help with Rent Loan.”
The Help with Rent Loan offers members a 12-month term of up to $1,000 at 0% APR. Borrowers have up to 100 days before their first loan payment is due.
Guy Ottersen, Canopy’s Vice President of Lending and Member Experience, explained that the Help with Rent Loan is available to all members that have been in good standing for at least 30 days. Members must demonstrate proof of need, such as a rental agreement, layoff notice, or reduced or lost income to qualify.
“We have allocated $150,000 to lend out for this temporary Help with Rent Loan. We hope members can use this assistance to alleviate financial stress caused by COVID-19,” said Ottersen.
Canopy’s mission is to support its members and be available to them in times of need. NWCUF is proud to serve its member credit unions in the Northwest and be flexible with grant funds as priorities shift during this difficult time.
“We know our credit unions understand what their members need during times of financial hardship, and we want to empower them to do what they do best — serve their communities,” said Claire Hendrix, NWCUF Program Director.
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