Crisis pushing out residents

On August 7th, a bombshell was dropped on our quiet island when the Vancouver Sun published a font page cover story on the affordable housing crisis.

SALT SPRING ISLAND — Judith Wells, 71, stands in front of her ruby red Chevrolet and points to a thin mattress and a pillow laid flat in the trunk of her car.

“This is it as of next week,” she says.

Wells has rotated among short-term rentals, couchsurfing and sleeping in her car for seven years. In the absence of family she stays on the island to keep connected to friends. But an eviction notice given to a friend means she will again be living in her vehicle in a matter of days.

“All this time, I have been under care for my heart,” she says, holding back tears. “The other day I was told I could have heart failure. As a 71-year-old person who has worked all their lives, to find themselves left with no resources, it hurts tremendously.”

On the surface, Salt Spring Island holds a reputation of being a paradise getaway painted with orange-barked arbutus trees. But a chronic housing shortage affecting the lower and middle class, paired with a surging homeless count and a lack of resources, paints a starkly contrasting picture.

Read the full article on the Vancouver Sun website.

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