WATCH: The lack of available housing is an issue prominent throughout Vancouver island but, in growing municipalities the issue is especially problematic. Luisa Alvarez spoke to the labor force building houses for the expanding community of Sooke who are struggling to find places to live.
Sooke is booming and with growth comes construction but, there?s an irony here as many of the men working hard long hours building houses for a growing population don?t have a place to call a home of their own.
? We were living in a trailer five of us and the two dogs just on a friends property. He had five acres and we parked the trailer there. That?s what we could afford and that?s where we could stay? said Andrew Tyrell, a Sooke laborer who was unable to find anywhere to rent for two years.
But it wasn’t just about finding an affordable home. Tyrell says landlords were reluctant to rent to him because he had children and pets.
” As soon as people found out we had kids we got frowns and then never got a call back as soon as they found out we had dogs it was a no..? said Tyrell.
Even offering cash up front for months rent in advance he had trouble getting accepted. After two years of searching Tyrell finally got his ideal ending.
“My kids are ecstatic that we finally have a place where we aren’t tripping over each other. We even got room for a tree, and we can decorate the place and make it our home? said Tyrell.
But the desperate search continues for many more. Adam Miller is just another example of a worker who cant seem to find an ideal place to rent. He says he’s had no other choice but to rent a single bedroom in a shared house.
” I?m just looking for a place so I can have my kids at my place and I just cant do that right now” said Miller.
With the vacancy rate in Sooke just hovering around the 1% the problem seems to have no end in sight.
“ I think we are going to run into that issue here for some time because the housing market is just starting to boom up again. Everything that hits the market in Sooke is being sold as fast as we can get it out of the ground” said Herb Haldane.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait says the conversation of housing availability in Sooke is one that’s been going on for over a decade and several projects have been completed to address the issue. Though, clearly not enough she adds that council requested a report be completed to further explore solutions and will present it Dec 11th at the next council meeting.
Laborers say if nothing changes soon there could be a shortage of workers as the lack of housing could end up forcing them to leave. With the rate Sooke is growing at this problem could end up snowballing into another one.
” They?re going to need a place to live if you want them to work. You?re going to see a house right now that takes 4-5 months to build and its going to end up taking 6-8 months to build so, that means it will take a lot longer to get them on the market” said Herb Haldane.