One couple searching for housing on Vancouver Island has come up with their own solution for the short term by building a makeshift boat.
“I decided we’re going to build a boat. The one legal place where we can live and finally find some freedom and happiness,” said Philip Hathaway.
It’s moored by Campbell River but with a baby, on the way, they’d urgently like to find more suitable housing.
Hathaway built his initial design in Goldstream Provincial Park with blue bins.
His upgraded version was bigger and more durable. Using a five-horse engine they travelled up to Campbell River where they’ve been since.
This all followed a period of being homeless.
“We lived for a year in our van and then we eventually built a hut in James Bay and we lived there for almost eight months until I said we can’t live like this anymore. They had found where our structure was and said you have to take it down every morning from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” said Hathaway.
Hathaway says the boat has proved to be robust in storms and better than trying to live in a park or in the streets.
“It’s impossible to live on land with any safety. You have all kinds of people coming around stealing your stuff. Violence,” said Hathaway.
Though they’ve been trying to find a better option. They’ve looked for a home and applied for housing through BC Housing, so far without success.
“It’s impossible to find a place. Any place you can find is so out of reach that it’s just unaffordable.”
Recently, Sonja has become pregnant so their need for a better housing situation has increased. It’s the reason they’re now going public.
“We need to do something and I’m looking for any solution. No matter what I’m looking forward to the child no matter what the environment or what’s going on in the economy,” said Hathaway.
BC Housing says this is the first they’re aware of someone building a boat in this manner to live on it.
The organization confirms the Hathaways have applied for housing though the line-up is long and it says pregnancy can change priority though it is just one of a number of factors considered.