‘A tragedy’: Sidney family being kicked out of subsidized housing after mother dies

CHEK

A family in Sidney is being kicked out of their home while also grieving the death of a partner and mother.

Bruce Steinburg lives in a subsidized housing complex run by the Capital Region Housing Corporation (CRHC) with his three-year-old son, Bruno.

He also lived with his partner Agnes Ratcliffe, 37, before she died suddenly of a heart attack last week.

Steinburg told CHEK News the whole family is grieving, but Bruno is taking it the hardest.

“His aunt came here to help with stuff from Edmonton, but when she leaves, even for a little bit, he cries. Even his friends, he cries. He’s never done that, just since his mother passed,” Steinburg said.

Since the death of Ratcliffe, the family has been at risk of losing their home.

Steinburg explained that both his and Ratcliffe’s names used to be on the tenancy agreement for the townhouse.

The couple separated for about four months, during which time they removed Steinburg’s name from the agreement.

He later moved back in, and they had been living as a couple ever since.

“Before she passed away last week, she was going to call [the Capital Regional District] and say, ‘OK, my spouse is going to go back on the lease, help me with everything,'” Steinburg said.

Ratcliffe died before that call was made, meaning Steinburg isn’t on the lease.

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The front door of the home is shown.

Mary-Ellen Somerville, Ratcliffe’s step-sister, suggested calling the housing office right away to explain the situation and getting the lease transferred to Steinburg’s name.

“I can’t imagine they will make a three-year-old-homeless,” she added.

The family said the housing corporation wouldn’t do the transfer, instead giving Steinburg until the end of October to pack his things and move out.

“Not only is somebody grieving the loss of a spouse and mother, but then they now have this added stress of immediate eviction,” Somerville stated.

In a statement, the CRHD said it can’t comment on individual tenant situations due to privacy concerns.

Steinburg hopes the housing corporation changes its mind because he just wants to stay in the only home his son knows, adding they don’t have anywhere else to go.

“I just don’t want to make it more of a tragedy,” he said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the the family.

Somerville said she initially set it up to raise money for Bruno’s future, but now the funds may need to be used to find housing.

Family pictures from inside the home are shown.

Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

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