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Kelowna News

LETTER: So many people are a pay cheque away of being homeless

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May 04, 2018 - 10:37 AM



I agree with the comments and observations made by Charlotte Helston regarding the increasing amounts of homelessness.

Article: 'The single biggest reason behind the spike in homelessness in Vernon'

I know so many, who are living a pay cheque away of being homeless or in fear what they will do if they have to move to find further accommodations.

We have probably have spent more money on trying to understand the "whys" than we have spent on actually doing something about it. I would submit that the issue of homelessness is actually creating employment for those whom homelessness is the least of their concerns.

Here Kelowna there is housing being built at a tremendous rate, unfortunately it is mostly unaffordable and out of range for most.

The city defines "affordable" as a household whose total annual income is $60,000! Do cities even know how many people are living on less than an annual income of $20,000 or $10,000 a year? If they did, then they may begin to understand the seriousness of the issue. Even as housing is being built, rents on old and existing units are soaring...rents have surpassed the ability to afford to rent, leading to becoming "homeless".

Seniors who are renting and living on low and fixed incomes and who may even be requiring supportive or assistive housing are finding it impossible to find suitable accommodations.

I predict that homelessness amongst seniors will increase along with an increase in health and social economic issues. Many are needing to use 70 to 80 per cent of their incomes for rent.

The SAFERS program, which helps seniors with rent, applies rental subsidies of up to $600/month. I challenge anyone to find a one bedroom unit in Kelowna for $600 a month!

When this occurs, it effects how they eat and cope with daily living.

Until housing reflects the reality of what those on low and fixed incomes can actually "afford" things will only get worse.

— Joyce Mainland, Kelowna

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