Rent hike has Duncan residents scrambling to find homes


WATCH: A Duncan mother’s imminent fear of becoming homeless and losing her children is putting the housing crisis into sharp focus in the Cowichan Valley.
Patricia Bagley is one of 19 tenants of a Duncan motel that have just been notified their rent will go up by $400 on May 1 as summer tourist season rates take effect.

Patricia Bagley is holding on as tightly as she can to her five-year-old daughter as the ground around them becomes shakier by the day.

“I’m really scared for my children,” said the Duncan mother.

“Because I want to keep my children with me.”

Her family of four are some of the 19 tenants of a Duncan motel who are scrambling to find a new place to live. The motel, which is meant for short-term stays but has become essential housing in the Island’s housing shortage, is preparing to charge summer rates May 1. The rent will spike up by $400 dollars per month.

“My children are my flowers,” said Bagley in tears.

“I wouldn’t know what to do if I lose them.”

Clara Rempel was living in her car until she found the motel. It was the only place the 68-year-old could find in her budget in the Cowichan Valley.

“And then I found out that oh my goodness the rent’s going up for the summer right,” said Rempel. “It’s the summer rates.”

Though Bailey and her husband both work part-time, the motel is all they can afford so now they are looking everywhere in the Cowichan Valley for a new place to rent in their $1,000 per month budget.

William Jack works in outreach for Duncan’s House of Friendship and says this motel is just the tip of the iceberg as increases in BC Hydro rates push even more struggling families to their brink.

“The increase is going to put most of the families and the families who are at risk right now even further behind,” said Jack.

“This is a crisis,” said Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenanu. “There is such a need for affordable housing in this community.”

So Furstenau and her office staff are working to try to find the families housing in a hurry.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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