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100 Mile House resident concerned about lack of affordable housing

Amber Sharpe, right, and her daughter Mackenna pose for a photograph. Amber Sharpe is a single mother living in 100 Mile House. She is concerned about the lack of affordable housing in her community.
Image Credit: SUMBITTED/Amber Sharpe
June 09, 2021 - 6:00 PM

Amber Sharpe of 100 Mile House is shocked at what she sees happening in the housing market in her community. She says there are families living in campgrounds and motel rooms because of the lack of affordable housing.

“It’s insane,” Sharpe said. “There’s absolutely nothing to rent here. There are so many people and families living in motel rooms and camping. It’s brutal. There are so many people without homes. It’s sad when I see the posts from women begging for a place because they have been living in a motel for months with their toddlers. It breaks my heart.”

There has been a huge increase in home sales in the Cariboo this year. The number of homes sold through the B.C. Northern Real Estate Board totalled 655 units in May 2021. This was more than double the level from a year earlier, surging 141.7% from May 2020. This was also a new sales record for the month of May and was the highest level for any month in history.

The average price of homes sold in May 2021 was $380,441, an increase of 17.5% from May 2020. In the 100 Mile House area, 214 properties of all types worth $62.6 million were sold in the first annual quarter.

Sharpe says she is witnessing the trickle-down effect of big buyers moving into her hometown and is concerned for her community.

“People are listing their homes and they are selling within days,” Sharpe said. “One of my coworkers put her house up for sale listed at 1.6 million and it sold in three days. Most of the buyers are from the coast. Everyday there is at least one post on the Caribou Chit Chat Facebook page of someone saying they are moving up from the coast and can’t wait to live the country life. Out of the 18 staff members I have at my work, 10 are homeless.”

The single mother says she was forced to find a new place to live this year after her landlord gave her two months to move out because he wanted to move back in. She was paying $750 per month plus utilities. She ended up renting a chalet at a resort, which was way beyond her budget. So her daughter’s dad moved in to share the cost of rent.

“It costs $1,700 a month but we had no choice,” Sharpe said of her new rental. “My daughter’s dad is living with us. We were both looking for places and this was the only affordable solution. I know the stress of this situation first hand and what mental state it put me in for quite some time before my daughter’s dad told me to stop stressing and he would take care of it. I seriously burst into tears and hugged him so hard, thanking him.”

Sharpe feels the landlords are taking advantage of renters by increasing rent rates because of the demand.

“Sad thing is the landlords are full on taking advantage of the situation and now charging an insane amount for rent,” Sharpe said. “Low income families can’t afford that. It’s rather sick. Homeowners have jumped on the gravy train and are selling their homes because the demand is insane. Which then forces renters out and there is nowhere to move to. It’s their right to sell their homes but the ripple effect it is causing is devastating.”

Sharpe is hoping her community will be able to help, predicting things will only get worse as more people are receiving their eviction notices.

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