Today, Kandi Kehler and her two sons get to move into their home; they now have somewhere to go.
On June 18, when Kehler last spoke to the Mirror she was facing an imminent eviction with no prospects for a new home. She and her family were going to be the newest Campbell Riverites who would be facing the life of homelessness. However, over the past month and a half Kehler was able to find a rental and are planning on moving in this Thursday.
“We’ve had a rough month,” she said. “We’re not in yet, we’re supposed to be able to go in tomorrow (Thursday) and start moving some stuff. We’ve been couch surfing between my parents’ and my girlfriend’s house.”
Kehler says she applied for over 40 different places in town, and only two had reached out to her previous landlord for references.
“Some of the people who I went to see places were very discriminatory towards disabilities. Two people said ‘you know you can’t afford this, why are you wasting your time?’” she said. “I understand, disability doesn’t give much. I live it, I understand. I wouldn’t be going to look at places I knew I couldn’t make happen. I feel like they don’t look at your history on your application. I’d been in that house for eight years, and five of those years I was on disability.”
“Most people are that paycheque away from being homeless. The thing for me is I had the money for the rent, but nobody would give me a shot to pay it,” she said.
Though she was not taken seriously in some applications, she did manage to find a new place with a sympathetic landlord and is looking forward to being able to sleep in her own bed at night again.
“Even if it’s just beds tomorrow, I’ll be happy,” she said.
However, it was not easy to get where they are. After having issues with disability and B.C. Housing, Kehler said she reached out to the MLA for help.
“I was working with Michele Babchuk quite a bit. She was quite good at getting back to me and trying to get me more leads,” she said. “Nothing panned out, but she was helpful.”
Beyond that, Kehler was working with the John Howard Society, as well as the Campbell River Coalition to End Homelessness, trying to spread the word of the housing situation for people like her. Kehler is not the only person in this kind of situation. She personally knows of a few other people who are in similar straits, and says that the best thing to do is speak out about the issue.
“My biggest thing is trying to get more people to speak out, because if nobody speaks out, it’s never going to change.”
Though it has been tough on her family, Kehler says her boys are looking forward to the move.
“We’ve had some pretty rough days here and there… For the most part we’re doing pretty good. We’ve talked through it all, and they’re just relieved that we all get to sleep in our own beds.”