B.C. senior, 77, living in his pickup truck; calls it humbling but remains optimistic

Click to play video: '“It’s humbling,” Kelowna senior living out of his pickup truck remains optimistic about better days ahead despite his harsh reality'
“It’s humbling,” Kelowna senior living out of his pickup truck remains optimistic about better days ahead despite his harsh reality
“It’s humbling,” Kelowna senior living out of his pickup truck remains optimistic about better days ahead despite his harsh reality – Dec 3, 2020

It’s not the living situation a B.C. man envisioned for his senior years.

“I live in the backseat of the truck and just do the very best that I can,” Lance told Global News.

Lance, who didn’t want his last name used, is 77 years old. And for almost two years, he’s been living out of his pickup truck.

“It’s humbling,” he said.

Read more: Kelowna neighbourhood could see new multi-storey housing unit for seniors

The senior is on a fixed income, and after paying the bills, including his car payment, insurance and groceries, there’s little left over for anything else.

“It’s not enough to support a home or apartment,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

But Lance said he’s trying to make the best out of a bad situation.

His meals are simple, and when he has to use the washroom, he uses public ones or, in some cases, the bathrooms of neighbours.

“They’ve opened up their homes when I have a real necessity and been offered showers,” Lance said.

However, with winter arriving and cramped sleeping quarters, the nights are getting more challenging for the senior — who earlier in the fall had a stroke.

“I put my feet up against the door, my head up against the window on the other side and just stretch out,” he said. “And I’ve got four layers of blankets and a couple of sleeping bags.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary group takes grassroots approach to homelessness'
Calgary group takes grassroots approach to homelessness

Despite all of the challenges that come with living in a vehicle, Lance says the most difficult thing of all is being alone.

Story continues below advertisement

“The isolation,” he said.

Lance’s situation came to Global’s attention when concerned neighbours called the television station worried about his well-being.

Initially, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to go public because he doesn’t blame anyone for the spot he’s in but himself.

Read more: Questions around brand-new, empty affordable housing buildings in Keremeos

“I put myself in the situation because of family dynamics, and, yes, it’s a bitter pill to swallow,” he said.

Sherrallea King came across Lance almost a year ago and said she couldn’t help but feel compassion.

“You go home and you’re thinking ‘What if I was there? What if I was sitting there?'” King said.

King checks in on Lance daily, and brings him home-cooked meals and offers whatever support she can.

“He’s kind of always saying, ‘Oh no, no I’m fine. I don’t need anything. Maybe someone else can use it.’ But when you actually look, he’s not fine,” King said.

“He’s shivering most of the day, he’s sitting in one position all day.”

Click to play video: 'Campbell River homeless man deliberately set on fire'
Campbell River homeless man deliberately set on fire

As winter nears, she’s hoping someone will step forward with an affordable room for rent through the cold months.

Story continues below advertisement

“Just even the smallest little space … where he can sit in a chair, a proper chair, and lay down in a proper bed,” she said.

Lance said he was in touch with an organization that supports seniors earlier this year, but, so far, nothing has come out of it.

“I’ve got seniors outreach trying to help me, but then COVID struck and now that’s all up in the air,” he said.

Lance remains optimistic for better days ahead.

“It’s going to improve,” he said. “It has to. It can’t get any worse.”

To protect Lance’s safety, Global News is not revealing what part of Kelowna resides in.

Sponsored content