February 23, 2018 10:04 pm
Updated: February 23, 2018 10:24 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Oshawa woman claims co-op residence ‘tore up’ her application

Janet Stefaniuk says she has been waiting several years for co-op housing and fears she may soon be homeless.

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Janet Stefaniuk fears she soon won’t have a place to live.

The 64-year-old Oshawa, Ont., resident said she submitted an application to Harmony-King Co-Op Homes Inc. about seven years ago, but a staff member at the residences told her late last year that they no longer have her application.

“They tore it up,” said the single resident. “That’s what they told me.”

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Stefaniuk re-submitted her application in December 2017, but the residence gave her more bad news. “I said, ‘How long is the waitlist?’ She told me, ‘Two to six years,'” she said. “That’s ridiculous.”

Simone Swails, manager of government relations at the Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada, says there are 180,000 households on social-housing waitlists in Ontario, and that something may have gone wrong with Stefaniuk’s files.

“No file would ever be torn up physically. But if for some reason, somebody’s file would be rejected, it could be that… there was some problem with the information that they submitted to the co-op.”

READ MORE: Vancouver’s Rental Realities: From mouldy co-op to mom’s basement

Stefaniuk is in the process of selling her house in hopes of making money, and she says the clock is ticking for her to find a place to live after she moves out. She claims she cannot afford to rent her own apartment. “I still have food to buy. I have a dog that… needs insulin.”

She also suffers from a severe disorder, fibromyalgia, which causes her pain and affects her memory and sleep.

Many people in her community have been trying to get Stefaniuk on her feet, including her real estate agent, Natalia Halenda. She said she plans to reach out to the Harmony-King team if Stefaniuk doesn’t hear from them in the near future.

“She needs help,” said Halenda. “We have to find… a way to put her in a co-op [and] she will be safe.”

The Zock Group Inc. manages the Harmony-King residences, and its owner says the team will be revisiting Stefaniuk’s application. “I do understand that there have probably been a couple of slips… with a previous management company,” said Debbie Zock. “[Stefaniuk] apparently put in an application, which we could find no record of.”

Stefaniuk says she hopes she gets that much-anticipated phone call from the residences before she sells her home. “I’ve never been homeless,” she said, and she is hoping to keep a roof over her head. “I need help.”

READ MORE: Burnaby housing co-op suing former president

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