Victoria motel tenants forced out to make room for homeless campers

Victoria motel tenants forced out to make room for homeless campers
WatchPeople who have been renting rooms at a Travelodge motel in Victoria say they've been evicted to make room for homeless campers. April Lawrence reports.

Eliza Charlie is desperately trying to find a new place to live after being evicted, along with her partner and their dog, from the Travelodge motel on Gorge Road.

“We don’t even do anything, we just sit in our room, doing what we’re supposed to be doing, staying in, and trying to find a place is hard because of the dog,” said an emotional Charlie as she sat outside the motel Thursday morning with all of her belongings.

Charlie says motel staff told the tenants Monday night that they have to leave to make way for homeless campers from the Pandora Avenue and Topaz Park homeless camps.

READ MORE: Fencing goes up as process to move Victoria’s homeless campers begins

“It’s completely illogical, displacing one person in order to house another makes no sense to me,” said Emily Rogers, Legal Advocate with Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS).

Robert Tobler, who has lived at the motel since January and is on disability, says he thinks he has until Friday to move out but he’s being encouraged to get out faster.

“They’re offering me $100 if I check out today,” he said.

Claire Mock says she gets to stay two extra nights at the motel because she has a 17-year-old child and that BC Housing is trying to find another place for them to live. But she’s worried about her neighbours.

“I’m happy but I’m also really sad, I’m really sad for the people who are having to go,” said Mock.

“There are a lot of people who have had to leave here today and they have nowhere to go, and they don’t know where to go and some of them are still hanging out here cause there is nowhere to go,” she said.

In a statement Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson said “I understand and appreciate the stress that families are feeling. Our expectation is that no one will be without a place to stay. BC Housing staff are reaching out to people today to help them find suitable housing. Our focus is always to house those that need housing.”

BC Housing staff were at the motel Thursday afternoon but many of the evicted tenants are worried, and angry, that the help has come too late.

“I’m mad at the fact the government just took over, not asking if anybody else in these hotels are homeless themselves, who have actually paid their own rent money out of their pockets, why is that fair?” said Charlie.

Motel management didn’t return multiple calls for comment.


April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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