How the low vacancy rate in Kamloops has left this family homeless - InfoNews

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How the low vacancy rate in Kamloops has left this family homeless

Sheena-Lynn Peacock, her boyfriend Josh Connolly-Wintrup and their three children, posing in this submitted photo, have been homeless since the end of July.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Sheena-Lynn Peacock
September 25, 2018 - 11:00 AM

KAMLOOPS - It’s been almost two months since Kamloops resident Sheena-Lynn Peacock, her boyfriend and three kids have been without a home.

The family of five were previously residing in a basement suite in the city’s Pineview neighbourhood, but after almost a year, Peacock says their landlord gave them two months notice after the property sold.

When the Kamloops mother and her boyfriend Josh Connolly-Wintrup moved out they had no idea how hard it would be to find a three-bedroom suite in Kamloops.

The city's current vacancy rate sits at 1.2 per cent, according to the most recent report by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. A healthy vacancy rate should sit around four per cent, the CMHC says.

Since the end of July, Peacock says they've been couch surfing with friends and are currently staying at their fourth motel while they desperately search for another home. The cost of staying in motels has not only taken a toll on the family financially but it has also been emotionally stressful, she says.

“We can’t find anybody willing to rent to a family with two babies and a pre-teen within our budget,” Peacock says, who is currently not working while she looks after her two youngest children both under the age of three.

Her boyfriend currently works in town while he finishes his apprenticeship in Aberdeen.

Since school has started, the mother says a family friend has offered to let her eldest daughter stay with them until they figure out their housing situation.

“My family is broken up because of this,” she says.

Peacock says while her boyfriend works, she is applying and responding to every rental advertisement she sees on social media or online.

“We just keep getting told it’s too small for our family, or families not allowed, working professionals only,” Peacock says. “It just feels like excuse after excuse on why they think it’s not going to work out.”

Peacock says she has contacted ASK Wellness Society for assistance in finding affordable housing and has been told they're just one of many families struggling to find housing.

"There are so many families out there that don't have homes, we are not the only ones," Peacock says.

The Kamloops mother says she's been told to relocate closer to family outside of Kamloops but is trying not to resort to that option yet.

"If it came down to it, yes we would relocate but we are trying so hard not to do that," she says,

Peacock came to the Thompson-Okanagan from Ontario almost five years ago. She moved to Vernon initially before she met her boyfriend Josh and moved to Kamloops.

"For me to move back home I’m going to have to take my eldest daughter out of her school and everything she knows now and uproot her," she says. "Josh has a job here that not only are they signing off on his hours for an apprenticeship through school they’re willing to hold his position while he goes back to school so his job is secure and if we leave, he loses everything."

Peacock says they are searching for a three-bedroom rental suite at $1,300 plus utilities or a maximum of $1,600, everything included. The current vacancy rate for a three or more bedroom suite in Kamloops sits at 0.

"Just because I have kids doesn't mean that I should be reduced to living in this tiny motel," Peacock says. "I don't know what else to do, I don't have very much options."

For more coverage on the affordable housing crisis in Kamloops go here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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