The lack of affordable housing in Kelowna has taken a major toll on a single mom of two children, one of whom has special needs.
Marie, who asked Global News not to use her last name, is currently staying at a relative’s home, cramped into one room with her children, ages 7 and 9.
“We’re sharing a bed and a room, ” Marie said. “All three of us.”
The single mom is in the thick of the housing crisis after she lost her rental when the home was sold earlier this year.
“Our landlord ended up having to go into palliative care,” Marie said. “We got the notice in April and to be out in June.”
She and her children spent the month of July with a friend, then moved into the relative’s home.
During that time, Marie said she’s been looking for a three-bedroom apartment, but costs are out of reach.
“Anywhere from $2,700 to over $3,000,” said Marie, who had to give up her retail job a few months ago to provide more care for the seven-year-old.
For now, she’s on social assistance, but it’s not enough to secure a home.
“I applied to every single low-income housing there possibly was … every resource I could and nothing,” Marie said.
One of the agencies she reached out to for help is the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, which said the list of people needing affordable housing is long.
“We have people coming in every day pleading for help to try and find affordable housing,” said Jo Mansell, the society’s outreach team lead.
“We apply for subsidized housing for people. but there’s a two-to-four-year wait list.”
Making the problem worse for Marie is that with no permanent home, her son can’t access the support he needs.
“I have behaviouralists come in. I’ve been approved for occupational therapists and I can’t have any of these people come into a home that isn’t my home,” Marie said.
Leisa Howell is Ryder’s behaviouralist and is trying to support the family as best as possible.
“We’re all ready to go. He’s got his computer ready to go and we have nowhere to set up his little area, a little school for him,” said Howell. “It’s heartbreaking.”
And despite Kelowna being one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, Marie said leaving isn’t an option right now.
“I wish I could,” Marie said. “But it took me years to build him the team that he has. I can’t just up and leave.”
Marie said she spends every day searching for a home and hopes something materializes sooner rather than later.
“I’m living day by day,” she said. “That’s all I can do.”