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Okanagan family living in bush due to lack of affordable housing

Stunning scene as Okanagan family with children sets up a make-shift home in the bush due to lack of affordable housing

An Okanagan family says they’ve been forced to live in tents and a trailer in the bush because they can’t find affordable housing.

“It’s very demeaning,” Debbie Hook said. “I am 61-years old. I never in my wildest dreams, ever, ever, ever thought we would get there.”

Hook, along with her son, daughter-in-law and their five children aged 10 to 20, have set up a make-shift home about 30 kilometres up a forestry service road in the central Okanagan.

The family of eight has lived there for two and a half months now. They were evicted from their former rental house because the landlord decided to move in.

That launched a desperate search for housing but with such a large family and pets, it ended without success forcing them to seek refuge in the bush.

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“It is not the way to live,” Hook said. “I don’t understand how Canada, how the Province, how the City can allow this.”

Hook is a care provider to seniors and was working up until two weeks ago when the stress of the living situation got to her. She’s now on a medical leave.

“I am a working person reduced to no home, no fixed address, no nothing,” an emotional Hook said. “I am so stressed. Not only has this impacted on my family, it has impacted on my job, it has impacted on my belief on humanity.”

Her son also works as a drywaller but even though they pool their money, it’s not enough to make ends meet.

Hook is hoping someone comes forward with rental accommodation before the children have to go back to school and the weather turns cold.

“We work hard,” Hook said. “We have good credit references, we have good rental references.”