I am so frustrated by this housing crisis on the Sunshine Coast. It is disheartening watching my neighbours get displaced as homeowners sell rental properties in this hot market. I see seniors in their 60s, 70s and 80s worrying about becoming homeless. I see families who just can’t secure a rental. I want to save the spirit of the Coast that includes people of all income levels. Any suggestions on how I can help?
What you are describing is most definitely a crisis. It is the reason our local municipalities and organizations, including the Resource Centre, have signed a declaration called the “Sunshine Coast Call to Action on Housing.” At the Resource Centre we are also hearing from many people – seniors in particular – who can’t find or afford rentals.
When clients come in, we are doing our best to help them comb rental groups on Facebook or sites like craigslist, or help them write posts on these sites describing the type of housing they are looking for.
Using technology or filling out paperwork can often be a barrier to applying for things like subsidized or supportive housing options or rent supports programs like Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER). We know these last two options aren’t always solutions to short-term needs for housing, but they are applicable to some.
If you are concerned that someone you know may be at serious risk of becoming homeless, please reach out to us here at the Resource Centre and we will do our best to connect you to supports in the community who can help. Call us at 604-885-4088.
In terms of helping get this concern on the record, I would urge you to have your say at our third and final “Coming together on Poverty” forum, happening on April 26 at 7 p.m. via Zoom. These Imagine forums, as we call them, are looking at the big picture of poverty on the Coast, as part of our Poverty Reduction Strategy project. Precarious housing is without question an immense part of the conversation. To register: resourcecentre.ca/our-projects/poverty-reduction-strategy/imagine.
With rental supply being an issue, maybe you are in a position to add a rental suite to your home or property? If yes, inquire with your local municipality to understand any hoops you’d need to jump through. The SCRD administration line (604-885-6800) is a good place to start and they can direct you to the correct number for bylaws around rentals.
Local groups like Cover the Coast: Alliance for Affordable Housing Initiatives (coverthecoast.org) and Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society(affordablesc.org) are just two of many local organizations doing advocacy work around housing. They may know of ways to put your resources (skills, money, time) to use.
At this time, like you, we are frustrated that so many of our community members seem at risk of falling through the cracks, and we wish we had more immediate solutions. Let us keep working together to cobble together short-term fixes while government and organizations keep working overtime to find long-term solutions.
Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub. Do you have a question? Just Ask Angie! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org