A cancer patient and her sister evicted from their Colwood home say offers to help have come streaming in since going public with their story.
Heather Vanderweerd, who was diagnosed with stage four metastatic cancer in June 2020, expected to be homeless by Saturday after the home she has rented with her sister and nephew for the last six years was sold two months ago.
The family members are all on disability and consistently came up empty in their two-month search for a new home in one of the country’s tightest rental markets, even speaking with BC Housing and reaching out to their MLA Mitzi Dean in an attempt to find somewhere to live.
But after sharing their story with CHEK News on Wednesday, Heather and her sister Christine now seem to be getting the help they need.
Dean has responded to the sisters’ plea, saying her constituency staff are working to connect them with housing.
“I know that my staff had been doing that with them, and working as hard as they could to make sure this matter was brought to the attention of BC Housing,” she said.
“I can’t speak about individual situations with you, but I can absolutely reassure you and everybody in the community that my office will be working with everybody who faces challenges like this in our community, and connect them with the best-suited government services.”
Another offer came through Thursday morning for an immediate home for the Vanderweerd family.
“I got an email from my son’s coach from rugby,” said Christine. “He goes, ‘Hi Christine. This is your son Joshua’s coach from rugby, and my wife is the president of Pemberton Homes, and we’d like to help you find a home.”
That house won’t be available until May 5, but they will be able to stay together in temporary housing until then.
While there has been no news yet from BC Housing, Christine feel things are working out.
“It’s a load off my shoulders that things are possibly coming together. And it just means, you know, that [Heather] is going to be OK, that I don’t have to worry about her being stressed, and that’s the main thing.”
Christine said her son Joshua’s rugby and football teammates will be there to help with the move.
“It just means we’ll have to move our stuff twice. But that’s OK. We’ve got a football team to help us,” she said.
Sheri Hooper, a professional mover, says she knows what the family is going through and offered to assist the family with packing up their remaining belongings Thursday.
“I’m a packer for a living, so I thought maybe I could come over and help,” she said. “It’s very difficult. And I see a lot of that in the industry.”