• Shelter me: Rental housing crunch plaguing Vancouver Island

    Angie Mossa didn’t foresee homelessness in her future this time last year.

    Mossa, a community support worker in Duncan, and her two young daughters were happily living in the same four-bedroom home in Crofton they had for six years when she got the call.

    Her landlord notified her in January that he was selling the house and she had two months to find another location to live.

    Mossa was paying $1,000 a month for her rented house, what she had been paying since she first moved in. She thought at the time she would have little trouble finding another place to live. But her search proved fruitless.

    On April 1, Mossa and her children — an 11-year-old and a four-year-old that has special needs — were forced to move into a RV camping trailer on a friend’s property in Maple Bay.

    “I had no idea that finding an affordable place to rent in the area had become so difficult,” she said. “I looked at the small number of available rental units with at least three bedrooms from the Malahat to Nanaimo and the rents ranged from $1,600 to $2,300 a month. What makes it even harder is that I have a therapy dog for my four year-old with special needs and many landlords don’t want pets.”

    Mossa said she makes approximately $30,000 a year at her job. She considers that a decent wage, but the rent and utilities at her Crofton home still took up to 75 per cent of her salary. That was tough enough, but the skyrocketing rents in the region make the situation even worse.

    “I’ve always lived a very stable life with a great upbringing, a career and babies so this is very upsetting to me,” she said through tears. “We’re now living in my mom’s cramped RV where my kids don’t have their own bedrooms or space. I’ve been telling my children that we’re just camping for awhile and they seem okay with that for now. I keep looking every day for a place for me and my daughters to live, and I intend to keep looking, but this is affecting me a lot.”

    The situation is hardly unique to Mossa’s part of the Island.

    In December, Black Press talked to Sooke construction worker Andrew Tyrrell, who was — along with his girlfriend, three children and two dogs — living in a 200 square-foot trailer in his friend’s yard, because they were unable to find anywhere else to rent, a situation his boss said is not uncommon in the industry.