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Family says they're being evicted from Victoria motel to make way for homeless amid COVID-19
VICTORIA -- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Victoria-area hotels and motels are being leased by the province to house homeless people who are currently living on Pandora Avenue and in Topaz Park. In an ironic twist, that plan may actually be causing others to become homeless.
Claire Mock and her 17-year-old daughter became homeless three weeks ago. They spent their first night at Topaz Park but didn't want to be in the middle of the overcrowded field. They were told to dismantle their tent and to move on.
The second night was spent in the back of a friend's pickup truck with a canopy. In the middle of the night a man attempted to break into the vehicle while they were sleeping. That's when Mock says she had enough.
She is on a disability and couldn't afford much but two weeks ago did manage to secure a motel room in the Travelodge on Gorge Road East in Victoria.
She is spending around $1,400 a month to stay there, but on Tuesday she got a call from management.
"They said we're out on Thursday," said Mock. "There were no more renewals, the hotel is closing down and BC Housing is taking over. We've got to get out."
Mock and her daughter are now being forced back onto the streets so that those living on the streets can have their room.
"The ironic thing is, if we had stayed at the park, I'd be living here for free," Mock said.
There are others being evicted from the hotel as well, including families with children and people with health issues, she said.
CTV News spoke with another couple who didn't want to be identified. They said they have nowhere to go as of Thursday.
The couple, like Mock and her daughter, have to be out of their hotel room by 11 a.m. Thursday.
In a statement to CTV News, BC Housing said it "spoke to [hotel] operators about our expectation that no one be displaced to accommodate new residents."
The ministry said it "will be reaching out to these individuals to support them, and will work with them to find them housing if needed."