Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Day 2-Revelstoke

Our second day in Revelstoke was a clear lesson in the depth of the housing and homelessness crisis that exists in BC’s smaller communities.

We visited with a young woman who lives in a shack that has no running water, no electricity, no plumbing and is heated by a wood stove which she also uses for cooking. Her home is comparable to many places I have seen in Townships in South Africa. For this, she and her husband pay $200 per month. She told us they will move at the end of the month because there are others who will pay more for the shack, and the landlords are considering making the structure into a greenhouse – which would require renovations to make it appropriate for plants.

We also met a woman who lives in a small motel room. It has a microwave and a bar fridge. The rent is $650 a month. In Revelstoke! She’s moving to Kelowna to share a one bedroom apartment with a friend.

The situation is so bad that employers complained to us they are having real trouble finding employees in the service industry (hotels, fast food restaurants etc.) because there is nowhere for these people to live. We were told the situation is worse in Radium Hot Springs and Invermere.

The day finished with a very productive discussion that brought together 3 city councilors and the local MLA, Norm MacDonald.

Thanks to all of the people in Revelstoke who helped make our time there so stimulating and useful.

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