‘Big relief’: Greater Victoria family secures housing after outpouring of community support

'Big relief': Greater Victoria family secures housing after outpouring of community support

A huge weight has lifted off Michael Sharcott’s shoulders, as an outpouring of community support led to securing a home for his family.

Two months ago, Sharcott got the news their landlord had plans to use their unit for a family member who couldn’t afford to live on their own while they study for school, he started searching for a new home.

Since then, he sent hundreds of requests to landlords and seen dozens of apartments but hasn’t been able to find a home for himself, his wife on disability and his eight-year-old son.

On Friday, the family was in its final 10 days before needing to vacate the property, facing the possibility of homelessness.

CHEK News shared the story and within hours Sharcott was able to secure an apartment and sign a new lease.

READ MORE: 10 days until homeless: Greater Victoria family faces an ‘out of control’ rental market

Sharcott said minutes after the story was shared, his email flooded with offers of support, including one from a local residential manager.

“We got the email, we called the lady at about 5:20 p.m. and she said come down,” Sharcott explained. “I got the family, we went down, had a look and by the time we got everything done it was just after 7 p.m. It was a big relief.”

Kerrie Murray, residential manager, said a unit in one of the buildings she works in just became available.

She said when she saw the story she knew she was in the perfect position to help, adding the situation gave her a moment of de-ja-vu as this isn’t the first time she has done this.

“Eight years ago there was a similar situation on CHEK News in the winter time. A lady had appealed to look for a place and I actually phoned CHEK News, gave her my number, she got housing just before Christmas and she had an ill child,” Murray said. “So when Michael came on, I almost started crying because it was the same thing.”

She said she loves being a residential manager, as it puts her in a position to help people from all walks of life find safe housing.

“Especially when it come to children and families,” Murray added. “It’s really important to me.”

Sharcott said the new apartment is a spacious one-bedroom unit, a downsize from their current three-bedroom home.

He said the smaller space will be an adjustment, but one the family is willing to make.

“My wife will have the bedroom for her needs and me and my son are going to set up a little area for us. We will have a bed, his bunk bed and he’ll have his play area and everything so it will be a nice place for him,” Sharcott said.

The family is very grateful for all the support and messages they have received from the community over the last 24 hours, adding Friday night was the first night Sharcott and his wife slept through the night since they started looking for a new home.

However, Sharcott knows there are many other families in the same situation.

“I’m hoping all the other people, that are like me, that were getting close to the wire, that those opportunities will get to them now,” he said.

Murray said those who are looking for housing should stay persistent, keep looking, follow up with landlords and stay proactive in their search for a home.

-With files from Kori Sidaway.

Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

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