A family in Surrey is worried their five-year-old son may be apprehended by the Ministry of Children and Families if they don’t find housing soon.
Jessica Paul, who calls herself one of the “working poor,” says her family is living in a hotel right now, and the money’s running out.
She says they lost hundreds in a Craigslist rental scam, and now skip meals to stretch their dollars to feed their son.
“We’ve been threatened a few times. A ministry worker called me about a week ago, and suggested my son could be in potential danger.”
Since then, they’ve been scrambling to find housing for almost a month now, living in hotels, and using what little money they have.
“I’m terrified that there’s not a single shelter in the city that’s got any space for any of us; I’m calling them daily. There’s no where for us to go. I’ve pretty well spent everything I have trying to get us a home, and keep a roof over our head while we do that, because nothing has been available.”
Paul says she’s shocked they can’t find a place to live locally.
“This is Canada, and this is what it has to offer? If I had a passport for my son and I, I would probably be on a bus on the way to Mexico ’cause I could find better there, and for cheaper.”
Paul says she and her husband have even skipped meals, because they can’t afford groceries.
“The food bank gave us food the other day, but it was mostly tomato soup and tuna, and I’m in hotel room with a microwave.”
She says her son was to start kindergarten in September, but hasn’t been able to, as the family doesn’t have an address.
Paul and her family started a Gofundme page hoping to raise money to find a new place.
We told you this morning about the plight of a family in Surrey who’s finding it tough to find affordable housing and living in a hotel.
Now comes word of a family of seven who took over three months to find housing in Vancouver and came within a day of being on the street.
Realtor Laura-Leah Shaw says she sees it all too often, families living on the edge, close to homelessness unable to find adequate housing.
She says one such family she helped was a mom and six kids.
“The situation is just abysmal, we need more government support, we need more housing that’s affordable to be built and created.”
Shaw says if rental housing can’t be found the next option is a shelter but most are full and the threat of the Ministry intervening and taking the children also looms large.
UPDATE: public reaching out to help
Since the story aired Tuesday morning, there’s been an outpouring of generosity from CKNW listeners.
Our radio station is receiving emails and phone calls from listeners wanting to know how they can help the family of Jessica Paul.
Paul told us how her family’s barely getting by in a Surrey hotel, even skipping meals, so her five-year-old son can eat.
They can’t find suitable accommodation in this tight housing market and suffered a huge financial loss thanks to a craigslist rental housing scam.
However, the Surrey Urban Mission is now in touch with Paul along with “Options Community Services.”
Both organizations are confident they can help the family get back on its feet.