CALGARY- Other than Christmas, the back to school season is one of the most expensive for parents. Between school fees, supplies, bus passes and new clothes, the costs can skyrocket—pushing budgets to the brink.
One Calgary family is struggling to make ends meet, and the affordable housing crunch has pushed them out of the rental market. They’re now staying at Brenda’s House, a transitional homeless shelter for families.
“At first it was embarrassing, it wasn’t a good feeling,” says mother Beatrice Machiskinic. “But the more I looked at what we needed help with, I took it day by day.”
The family of seven lives in one room together, but what gets them through their hardship is knowing their situation is temporary.
“We should be grateful that we actually have a place to sleep, we have food to eat,” Machiskinic says. “It really comes down to just being humble I guess. We can have those things in the future when that time comes, but for now this is what we have.”
She adds this time of year is especially hard, what with the extra costs of sending her children back to school.
“They’re going to a new school, they won’t have new clothing or two pairs of shoes. It’s difficult being a youth and keeping face.”
For now, they’re focused on making the best of their situation, and Machiskinic herself is also heading back to school at Bow Valley College.