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Daniel* was living an hour north of Winnipeg, driving the distance back and forth to work each day. After a few years, he knew it was time to move back to the city to be closer to family and cut down on his commute.  Renting an apartment from a family friend had made things pretty easy, and he was concerned that with his current financial situation it would be difficult to be approved for a new place to rent in Winnipeg.

“Life happens and sometimes things sneak up on you or situations change that put you in a tight spot,” said Daniel. “Having bad credit doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I just really needed a break.”

Once back in Winnipeg, Daniel applied to rent an apartment and was quickly denied. He contacted his debt counsellor at BDO First Call Debt Solutions for a letter to help him with the next application. That’s how he found out about Fresh Start, a new program that is helping people in Manitoba qualify for a new lease, and a new lease on life.

Fresh Start is a partnership between Towers Realty Group and BDO First Call Debt Solutions that helps people improve their finances, pay off their debt and qualify for a new rental unit. The innovative program coordinates the process – starting by meeting with a BDO Licensed Insolvency Trustee, creating an action plan to reduce debt, and finally referring the individual to Towers Realty for a rental opportunity.

family unpacking“Debt can affect people’s lives in ways others may take for granted. Last year more than one-third of applicants to rental units were declined due unsatisfactory credit,” says Jason Van Rooy, Marketing and Customer Service Manager at Towers Realty Group. “That’s why we created Fresh Start – it’s not about judging the past, but about helping residents move forward towards a new future.”

Daniel went to Towers and applied to the Fresh Start program. “They treated me with respect, just like any other renter,” he said. He filled out all the paperwork, and because he’d already worked with a debt counsellor at BDO, he found out he’d been approved for a new rental unit just a few days later.

Now Daniel has moved in and is reestablishing his roots in Winnipeg. “I’d recommend the program to anyone who needs a boost in the right direction,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to get back on your feet without having to rely on others to co-sign or to be constantly denied. For me, a huge weight has been lifted.”

To find out more about the Fresh Start program, visit www.towersrealty.ca/freshstart.

* Name has been changed to protect privacy.