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HOUSING CRISIS: Penticton mom, daughter fighting cancer being evicted in two weeks

Polly Deppisch and her daughter Gracie sharing a hug.
Polly Deppisch and her daughter Gracie sharing a hug.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

A single mom in Penticton is facing dire straits with nowhere to live in two weeks and a daughter battling cancer to care for.

Polly Deppisch and her 29-year-old daughter Gracie are being evicted from the two-bedroom apartment they share.

“I just want Gracie to have a comfortable place where she can heal,” Deppisch said.

Gracie is currently fighting cancer that has spread to her lungs, after undergoing chemotherapy twice since 2017.

“Since her second diagnosis I’ve been off work just to be with her for all the medical appointments and helping her through treatment and wanting to be with her as much as I can.”

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Despite being on disability, Deppisch’s modest income was enough to cover the cost of rent. Having signed the lease in 2014, she was paying just $800 per month in the end, including utilities.

But amid a worsening housing crisis, that rate has become unrealistic in the private market. Deppisch is willing to downsize to a one-bedroom unit, but even those are starting at $1,300 per month, not including utilities.

“The plan is to get Gracie through this treatment, then I can return to work, then I would be able to afford what people are asking,” she said.

“I knew rents had gone up but I just didn’t realize by how much.”

Then in her search for a new place, she was scammed out of $100 by somebody posing as a property manager online.

Deppisch doesn’t have any family nearby to stay with, as both her parents who lived in Penticton have passed away, and her siblings are in Alberta.

“I just feel really stuck.”

As soon as Deppisch found out she was being evicted in March, she applied for an apartment through B.C. Housing. She said her income is low enough and her age is high enough to qualify. The application presented numerous other criteria that she also meets.

But since Gracie is too old to be considered a dependent child, the family was disqualified from being accepted into subsidized housing.

“I had sort of banked everything on that,” she said. “We checked all the other boxes.”

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The mother and daughter were originally given three months notice to be out by May 31 but have been given an extension to June 15.

Deppisch is reaching out to the community in hopes that somebody may be in a position to help them find a place before then. They have two cats and don’t want to be too far from the Penticton Regional Hospital, as they rely on public transit and taxis.

If something does work out, Deppisch isn’t sure how she – as a 57 year old – and her daughter who’s going through cancer treatment, are going to be able to physically move all their stuff into a new apartment.

But that’s a problem they’ll be happy to have, because if nothing comes together by then, they do not have a backup plan.

One of their few lifelines is this online fundraiser. Anybody who might be able to help can get in touch with Deppisch via email.

Deppisch wants readers to know that her situation is not the result of a greedy landlord. 

Image Credit: SUBMITTED

– Story updated at 10:30 a.m. on June 7, 2022 to add Deppisch's comment about how the landlord is not evicting them out of greed.

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