Families and children suffer from not knowing where home is going to be, or with having alternative, communal living arrangements taken away. Some families and single moms are experiencing discrimination when landlords will not rent to them because they have children.
"It's not just one demographic that is struggling here, it's all kinds."
We have been renting on Salt Spring and are having a hard time finding long-term housing. We have had a lot of funny business with our landlords, we have had them raise our rent illegally but we can’t do anything about it because there is nothing to move to.
I am working in a position that is essential to our community but our rental contract expires in early 2019 and I am already worried. We pay astronomical rent now, and we have lost our chance to buy in the current real estate market. We are a working family with two kids and pets and we can’t imagine trying to move to a new community. I help people with this kind or stress at work and then I come home to it, it is very threatening. It feels really, really scary. This is not the kind of stress we want to give our kids.
I hope that my story helps to jog some people’s awareness that it is not just one demographic that is struggling on Salt Spring Island, it is all kinds. Working professionals, families, single people, seniors - everyone. Thank-you for listening.
"Our daughter loves Salt Spring, she doesn't want to leave."
Brett and Tina Taylor's story has been profiled in The Driftwood multiple times.
"After arriving, they moved into a rental home and were told to put down their roots. They had a child, made the rental their home and were planning on staying for good when they were told to move out. Their landlord had decided to sell their home. They were left without anywhere to live in the middle of summer in 2016. At the time, Tina was pregnant with their second child.
Eventually, they found a new housing solution by buying a yurt and moving onto their friend’s land. For two years, it seemed like their troubles were at an end, but in April 2018 they were informed by Islands Trust bylaw enforcement staff that their living situation was illegal and they were thrust back into housing limbo.
Brett and Tina have had to discuss being forced from their community with their young daughter. "Phoenix loves Salt Spring, she doesn’t want to leave," Tina says."
Be sure to read their story in their multimedia feature on the housing crisis.
"We posted on the exchange and barely had any response."
We decided to make the move from Tsawwassen to Salt Spring Island for a variety of reasons, but mainly for the opportunities for our kids to be around nature and to attend a school that was more in line with what we wanted for them.
Home is stability, and with little ones this is a very uncomfortable place to be.
We started searching in February, and quickly got a sense of the lack of housing on the island so were advised to post on the SS Exchange. It was unfortunately a bad time of year to be searching as we were informed most people try to do short-term rentals over the summer. We posted on the exchange, and barely had any response.
Our kids are enrolled in Centre School and starting in the fall. We currently have a house-sit lined up for July and a sublet for August… we have nothing beyond the summer. As one can imagine, this feels very uneasy.
Home is stability, and with little ones this is an uncomfortable place to be. We are trying to make this a positive experience and enjoy the adventure aspect, but that will need to shift in the fall. I have hopes that things are going to begin to change...
- Monashee and Isaias
"Our neighbours complained..."
We have a small cabin on our property that is less than an acre so its not legal to rent out. However, we have rented it out for 7 years and been able to provide great housing to several different tenants. Recently our tenant of 3+years moved out and we posted our place to friends since the exchange usually brings 100's of on lookers. We offer our cabin for a lower amount than the going rate because we get a good deal on our property rent and want to give someone else a good deal too.
However, when our neighbours found out we were going to rent it out again they protested and wrote threatening emails to our landlords stating several reasons why it shouldn't be rented out. None of these reasons were actually valid but they tend to complain and find error in most things in life.... They have called the Islands Trust several times in the last years to report neighbours for trivial matters.
In the end we have not rented it out because they have said they will call the Islands Trust if we rent it and therefore leaving a new tenant in the middle of a messy situation to find a new place and we don't want to cause someone else that trouble.
In the meantime we are going in more debt and have a beautiful little place that is sitting empty while many people are looking for suitable housing. It's frustrating, sad and makes us consider if we should move away. We understand that it is not a legal rental and at the same time wish to work towards solutions on the island that can both benefit tenants and landlords to have secure housing.
"Husband and children need to live in the local motel while mom's in the hospital."
Monique contacted us by telephone from the hospital. She has a digestive disorder and cannot be far from the hospital but she was sharing that because she and her family cannot find housing, she has to live in the hospital while her husband and children live in the local motel. She was appealing to the community to please find solutions to housing soon. Her daughter has been asking her if they were going to be living in the motel at Christmas time and it is Monique's wish that they find a home well before then to give her family some stability while she get's well.
- IWAV Staff