Women put at risk by housing shortages

Kelowna’s affordable housing shortage is putting at-risk women in an even more precarious position.

In today’s Capital News, reporter Alistair Waters speaks with a woman who offers some insights on how the path to homelessness is a slippery slope of one small change after another. Here we speak with a women’s advocacy worker on the challenges women in precarious personal positions are facing.

Kelowna’s affordable housing shortage is putting at-risk women in an even more precarious position.

“In my opinion it forces women to stay in situations that are potentially dangerous,” said Jessica Haefner, with the Elizabeth Fry Society. “If they’re trying to leave an abusive situation, more often than not it’s easier to stay because it’s so overwhelming to look at all the things they are going to be faced with if they leave.”

Those things include a rental rate that’s 0.3 per cent, with an average rental fee for a one bedroom somewhere in the $1,000 a month range.

If a woman has children, finding a home with more than one bedroom is even more difficult and more expensive.

“It’s barrier after barrier for a lot of women,” Haefner said.

Many women she deals with who do make the leap out of a dangerous situation end up couch surfing for awhile or, at times, they find refuge in women’s shelters, which are oftentimes at peak capacity.

“There’s not a lot of places for women to go,” she said.

“I’ve only been in this position for a year and it’s been eye-opening. You don’t realize it until you are a person trying to find housing or, trying to help someone find housing.”

There are some government programs available to alleviate the burden on women in need, such as a BC Housing rental supplement and Income Assistance.

These, however, require filling out lots of paperwork, which is particularly onerous for women who are trying to flee an abusive relationship.

“It’s not a fast process,” said Haefner. “For women who are trying to leave an abusive relationship, housing is the No. 1 issue. ‘Where am I going to go, how will I afford to be there? When they can’t answer these questions, many times women will go back to an abusive situation.”

 

Just Posted

Driving Change: A Kelowna man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Kelowna examines options to connect Rutland with rail trail

Public feedback on the four options is available online until May 6

Wanted man nabbed after flipping car in Kelowna

A wanted man is now facing charges

Dangerous driver stopped by spike belt in Lake Country

The driver was arrested in Lake Country after fleeing the scene in Kelowna

Cops cuff good guys for great cause

Kelowna RCMP arrested members of the public as part of their annual Cops for Kids fundraiser.

Kelowna properties flooded along Heimlich Road

Flooding started on Spiers Road Tuesday and continued into properties, said an area resident

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

The “industry will collapse” : South Okanagan winery reacts to ruling

Okanagan Falls winery concerned for the future of the industry after Supreme Court ruling

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Rock titans rule Prospera Place

Peter Frampton and Steve Miller have been friends for 51 years.

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Most Read