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HOUSING CRISIS: Single Kamloops mom packing up with nowhere to go

Kamloops mom Kimberly Beesley's small storage space for her family's belongings.
Kamloops mom Kimberly Beesley's small storage space for her family's belongings.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Kimberly Beesley

A Kamloops mother of two says she will be homeless as of Nov. 1 if something doesn't change quickly.  

Kimberley Beesley is a single parent on disability who, like so many others, has been living paycheque to paycheque for months during an ongoing housing crisis across the province.

“It is a sad day for me as a single mom,” she said. “Tears are streaming down as I pack up the rest of our home. The feeling of failing to obtain affordable housing for the next month is crushing.”

Beesley, 37, is spending the week packing her 2,500 square foot rental into a small storage unit and talking to local agencies in an attempt to get funding for a hotel.

She is also starting to organize others to join her in a public demonstration at City Hall in November to raise awareness of the housing crisis and push the provincial government to call for a state of emergency.

“It is important because I’m living this along with many other families whose stories deserve to be told,” she said. “This is a crisis of systemic proportions.”

READ MORE: Kamloops mom on disability barely staving off homelessness

Beesley and her kids have lived in the same home on the same street and attended the same school for five years, but the landlord is moving back into the home.

“I’ve paid more than 80% of my disability income to my landlords over that five years, totalling roughly $90,000.”

According to Statistics Canada data from the 2021 census released Sept. 21, more than one-third of renters in Kamloops paid more than 30% of their income on rental costs.

The family of three is desperate to find a long term rental they can afford as time is running out and winter temperatures are setting in.

So far Beesley has had no luck finding anything in her price range of $1,300 to $1,450.

“I don’t drink, smoke or party,” she said. “We just need something safe and warm.”

The Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation’s October 2021 rental survey showed the vacancy rate in Kamloops at 0.9%. It's considered healthy at four per cent.

READ MORE: Governments need to 'serious steps' to tackle housing crisis: Accountants

Beesley has faced homelessness in her past as a youth in government care in Kamloops, but she has never faced such dire circumstances with children in tow.

“My family is trapped in a system that devalues me as a human being because of my socio-economic status and my kids are the one swho have to live with the impacts of our poverty.

“Society’s most vulnerable families deserve housing as a basic human right.”

Beesley said she has had offers to live in an RV on private land on Vancouver Island and “a few amazing friends are willing to take us.”

“I've been independently living since the age of 16, and never struggled this hard to obtain affordable housing,” she said. “I'm in meetings tomorrow with local agencies as we're down to the wire for my family. I’m exhausting all resources at this time.”

Beesley currently runs a business selling Scentsy products, mostly online.

READ MORE: HOUSING CRISIS: Penticton man stuck between homelessness and housed

Last month Beesley was in the process of enrolling into school for a diploma in community service work, with a long-term goal of going to UBCO to get a master’s degree in political science having lived through many systemic shortcomings.

“I was so excited, there were tuition waivers for former youth in care but now I’m stuck in an affordable housing crisis with few options.”

Beesley is taking action and organizing a demonstration against the provincial housing crisis to take place on City Hall property this November, but details are still in progress. 

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