This summer, Jesse Kirkpatrick and Jackie Myerion were evicted from their basement apartment and forced into the awful situation of having to camp in a Vancouver park with their two children.
The couple had been living in an affordable Surrey suite for a year, and were asked to leave so their landlord’s relatives could move in. They were unable to find anything in their price range, and after living briefly with relatives, they ended up homeless.
“We were looking daily for houses to have a place to live. I stopped work just so we could do that. We couldn’t find anything at all,” said Kirkpatrick.
Myerion said it was an extremely stressful time: “Some days felt very, very long.”
According to a new report from the Union Gospel Mission and the University of B.C. that was released on Thursday — at the tail end of a municipal election campaign during which housing and affordability have become top issues — families like Kirkpatrick and Myerion’s are at the greatest risk of becoming homeless because of a lack of affordable rentals and low vacancy rates that have spread to the suburbs in recent years.
“Metro Vancouver’s affordability crisis is surging in the suburbs at alarming speed. Cities that were once seen as an affordable oasis are quickly sinking in high rents and low vacancy,” said Union Gospel Mission’s Jeremy Hunka. “While nobody is immune, it’s absolutely hammering low-income families and women.”
The report, titled No Vacancy, shows that the overall vacancy rate for the region was 0.9 per cent in 2017, and rates outside the City of Vancouver have been steadily decreasing.
Surrey’s vacancy rate fell from 5.7 per cent in 2012 to 0.5 per cent in 2017, and Burnaby’s went from 2.2 per cent to 0.6 per cent over the same period.
Between 2012 and 2017, overall vacancy rates for two-bedroom units, which are often sought by families, dropped in Surrey from 6.5 per cent to 0.7 per cent, and in Burnaby from 2.8 per cent to 0.8 per cent.
When looking at units at the low end of the market rent range, vacancy rates are even worse.
At the same time, bachelor and one-bedroom unit rents in Metro Vancouver increased by 23 and 24 per cent, respectively. Two-bedroom unit rents increased by about the same amount.
“We’re really reaching indications of a boiling point. Before, you could go into other communities like Surrey and Burnaby and New Westminster and find potentially …read more
Source:: Vancouver Sun – Business