Tenants say new single mother housing project in Saanich not ‘affordable’

Tenants say new single mother housing project in Saanich not 'affordable'

WATCH: The 42-unit complex for low income single mothers offers free child care but some of the women who live there say it isn’t all as it seems. April Lawrence reports.

Politicians were in Saanich Friday for the grand opening of a new $12 million housing development for single mothers in Saanich.

“Rosalie’s Village is truly an example of integrated resources and service into a wonderful community setting that really works for the women who will live here,” said Capital Regional District Chair Barb Desjardins.

But two women, who moved into the complex late last year, say it isn’t working for them.

“Everything that they offered and the way it was supposed to be just really doesn’t feel like that,” said Emily Hawkins, who moved into her two bedroom townhouse at Rosalie’s Village in November.

The single mothers say the free daycare on site is helpful, but they take issue with the project being labeled “affordable”

“They’re taking over 100 per cent of my income for rent,” said Brittany, who didn’t want her last name used.

Both women say they’ve been receiving a rent subsidy from the housing operator St. Vincent de Paul but that’s about to run out.

For Emily Hawkins that will bring her rent from $950 per month to $1200 per month plus utilities.

“And I don’t really know what I’m going to do because I’m trying to make that transition from income assistance to working and school,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins wants to be a social worker and Brittany, who has a young son, also hopes to go to school.

But they are both on income assistance, which pays just over $900 per month.

“Once my rent goes up to $1075 if I’m in full time school, the daycare isn’t open on weekends so I can’t work a part time job and I don’t know how I’m going to survive,” said Brittany.

The women admit they knew their rents would rise after six months when they signed the lease, but say they had nowhere else to go.

“I was living in a hotel with my daughter who was four, and I really felt that I didn’t have much of a choice,” said Hawkins.

The goal of Rosalie’s Village is to help single mothers get into the workforce.

“Moms and children can come here and stay for up to five years while they work on their plan for independence and we provide the childcare for them,” said Angela Hudson, with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Vancouver Island.

Hudson says as long as the tenants are working toward that goal, they will help them with rent and make sure no one is forced out.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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