Coldstream family speaks out about lack of affordable rental housing

Coldstream family faces rental crunch

It’s no secret that British Columbia is facing a housing crunch and affordable rentals are hard to find in the Okanagan.

Coldstream resident Alexah Zarr is feeling the impacts first-hand.

She is looking for a new place for her family of five, including three kids, to call home.

“We are super stressed out,” she admits.

The family was given four months’ notice they’d have to move out of their current rental home.

However, with less than two months to go, the family is struggling to find a new rental even with a budget of $1,500 to $1,800 per month.

“We are super worried. If we could buy a house we would, but unfortunately even the housing prices are insane,” said Zarr.

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Zarr just one of those feeling the squeeze.

“We know the Okanagan is really struggling around affordable rental,” said provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson.

Robinson said making sure British Columbians have affordable homes is her government’s primary focus.

“We announced 1,700 units of affordable rentals that we are investing in around the province and there is certainly more in the upcoming budget,” said Robinson.

This week the Union of B.C. Municipalities came out with 32 recommendation aimed at tackling B.C.’s housing challenges: they included allowing zoning for affordable rental housing and looking at a sellers’ tax to discourage quick, speculative resales.

“Having local governments willing to partner with the province and with the federal government really means that together we are going to be able to deliver on housing for people who need it most,” said Robinson.

However, for now the minister is staying tight-lipped about what recommendations Victoria might implement.

“There are lots of things that we’ve been considering and when we move forward on the throne speech and the budget, people will see exactly how we are moving forward on this housing agenda,” she said.

Those longer-term fixes likely won’t come soon enough to help Zarr’s family find a new home by April 1.

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“We are super scared for our future and I’m scared for my kids’ futures. If it this bad now, what is it going to be like in 20 years?” said Zarr.

That will likely depend on how politicians choose to tackle the current housing challenges.