A lack of choice in housing makes some seniors very vulnerable to homelessness and stress. Long-term residents who have rented for many years are losing their rentals as homes are sold out from under them. Many of our artisans, chefs, care-workers and grand-parents are feeling the pinch around finding suitable housing. Here are some of their stories...
"6 women in their 60's are sleeping in their cars."
Island Women Against Violence (IWAV) operates Croftonbrook on Corbet Road, Salt Spring. This social housing project has 20 existing units and is in the process of trying to build 54 more units for seniors and people experiencing homelessness.
On an ongoing basis, IWAV keeps a waiting list for the existing units and it is currently at 92 names. IWAV staff have had seniors tell them that they are sleeping in their cars, sleeping on friends couches and or staying with family while they wait for housing of their own. This spring we have met 6 senior women in their 60's who are sleeping in their cars. IWAV is also actively trying to find housing for 10 other women who have no where to live. In terms of housing, our programs are full to capacity and beyond right now.
"This kind of stress on seniors is unacceptable"
I am a health care worker who recently worked with a 70 year old woman in our community who wishes to be nameless, who was suffering with homelessness this spring. She is a 40 year resident – well-known in the community, who has worked for many years and done a lot of volunteer work.
Last December, she sold her house, which her parents purchased in 1985, to pay off the mortgage. She found a temporary rental with no housing prospects beyond that date. She was told that Croftonbrook and Pioneer Village have long waiting lists.
Now 71 years old, she has been an island resident for 40 years. She has always worked hard and contributed to the community over the years as a real estate agent, dental assistant, and deli owner. Nowadays, she volunteers at the Lady Minto Thrift Shop.
She had spread the word among her friends and has been actively looking, but her computer has some problems that make viewing online listings difficult. Ideally, she would find a place with a bedroom large enough for her bed. She can afford rent up to $900/month.
She is a single person, had owned a home but finances dictated that she had to sell her home. She then had a rental that was very temporary but when that was up, had nowhere to go. I had met her through her health issues around housing and it was so bad.
On the last day of her tenancy, she still did not know where she was going. By absolute coincidence she found a place with someone on the exchange who kindly called her back right in the last days of May. I witnessed her three months of stress and struggle to help her find a place. This kind of stress on seniors is unacceptable. The lack of security in home and shelter does not give you a good base for health. If you have many stresses to deal with, a lack of shelter can really top it off from a mental health sense. It is not a good situation for anyone to be in.
- Submitted online
"Severely handicapped people are homeless while home owners rake in tourist profits."
Some people of Saltspring Island must rent and are having no success in locating a rental. At the moment there are even people with severe disabilities who are without suitable accommodations! It seems as though solutions are not being completed fast enough. A glorious project for affordable housing is underway, this is absolutely wonderful and will benefit many!!
There are severely handicapped people who are homeless on Salt Spring while home owners rake in the tourist profits!
I, myself am in need of a place to live by the end of July 2018. I’m on a limited income and have a cat, many landlords don’t want pets,this makes the search extremely difficult and is another issue which I feel could be addressed by trustees, regulated by law. It’s too easy for a landlord to state “no pets” but what of those who love and need their animals and will not part with them?
The summary of what this letter comes down to is that we have a serious housing issue which is not being dealt with quickly enough.
"I'd go somewhere else and I wouldn't know anybody, especially at my age."
Be sure to read Janet Marshall's story in the Driftwood's multimedia story about the housing crisis. It is about half way down the page.