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HOUSING CRISIS: Kamloops mom facing homelessness for second time this year

Tyreana Swinford of Kamloops with her two small children.
Tyreana Swinford of Kamloops with her two small children.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Tyreana Swinford

A single mother of two young children in Kamloops is facing homelessness for the second time this year.

Tyreana Swinford, who lives on a fixed income, put her children in temporary foster care this spring while she lived at a shelter and searched for housing. An organization called A Way Home responded and put Swinford up in an apartment for $900 a month where she’s been able to live with her kids all summer.

“It was really nice to be back with them and to be able to raise them again, to be in our own home,” Swinford said. “They’re both doing great.”

But the young mom is turning 27, therefore aging out of the program and has until Oct. 1, to find another affordable rental. She's reached out to local organizations in Kamloops like the Elizabeth Fry Society, ASK Wellness and Interior Community Services for help and is on the BC Housing list.

“I’ve asked family and friends if they have room for us to move in with them and I’ve looked on Facebook market place but with the income I receive I can’t afford it,” she said. “I just got my daughters back in my care and finally handed in my information to receive the child tax again and now they might have to go back into foster care. I’ll either go live at a women’s shelter or stay with my boyfriend without them because its small and not suitable for children there.”

The stress of the situation is causing Swinford mental and physical problems.

“It’s scary, I have 19 days and I don’t know where we’re going,” she said. “I’m beginning to become very overwhelmed and my anxiety is heightened, its taking a toll. I’m not feeling well and had to go to the doctor for stress related issues.”

Swinford isn’t bothering to view rentals in the city after viewing several the first time she was facing homelessness and coming up against unaffordable rental costs and lineups of others applying.

The mom is on a fixed income because she isn’t able to work right now. She receives some help from the children’s father but it isn’t enough. She put herself on the BC Housing list months ago but hasn’t been offered a rental yet.

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According to a recent Market Rental report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, rental affordability continues to be a challenge across the country. There is a lack of affordable rental housing, especially for the lowest 20% of income earners.

The report cites higher migration, increased homeownership and students returning to on-campus learning drove increased demand for rental housing in 2022. Demand for rental housing outpaced the increase in supply, leading to a lower national vacancy rate compared to the year before.

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A Way Home Kamloops was not immediately available for comment.

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