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Victoria family on brink of homelessness as rental market tightens


Valma Sampson, her partner Darcy Bueckert, their daughter Lidia and their two dogs have been living at the Hotel Zed in Victoria for the past month as they search for a place to call home.

“The people that we have been in contact with, they tell us they have a ton of applicants for the same rental or they contact us and tell us what they have doesn’t suit our family,” said Sampson on Tuesday.

The small family had been living with their extended family but that fell apart. They had no other option but to move into a hotel. At $130 a night, their savings are almost gone.

“We’re going to probably have to go and buy a tent,” said Bueckert.

“We’re at the point where if we pay for any more extensions, then we risk even eating,” said Sampson.


The family says it has fallen through the cracks of a nearly impossible rental market.

“I would argue the bigger issue here is the supply level is really low,” said Pershing Sun, senior economic analyst with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Sun says there are two contributing factors that are creating the housing crunch: B.C.’s economic rebound coming out of the pandemic has people moving to Vancouver Island for work, and a lack of purpose-built affordable rentals.

“Two years ago, when the pandemic just started, we had over 1,000 additions to the purpose-built rental stock, but last year we only had half of that,” said Sun.

Last year there were 100 condos added to the region's rental stock. The previous year there were more than 600.

“The inventory is very scarce,” said Lacey Sheardown, president of classified listing site saw the number of ads posted for apartment rentals in 2021 drop by more than half over 2020 levels.

The average Victoria apartment price has jumped by $200 a month and a reasonably priced apartment ad will often be removed the same day it gets posted as demand skyrockets.

“It’s really competitive,” said Sheardown.


Back at Hotel Zed, time is running out for the young family. On Tuesday, the family said they could only afford to keep their room until Thursday.

On Wednesday morning, however, Sampson told CTV News that Hotel Zed had offered the family a free extended stay at an upgraded suite that includes a kitchen.

The suite will be theirs free of charge until Feb. 18, according to the family.

“She’s the most important thing in our lives and we need to find something for her,” said Sampson on Tuesday, embracing her six-year-old daughter. Top Stories

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