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New Westminster family facing homelessness considers moving into a bus

Last Updated Feb 26, 2021 at 8:23 am PDT

Summary

Jennifer Parker and their three-year-old daughter have been struggling month-to-month and will have no home come April

The family will either raise the money to buy a converted bus, move into a shelter

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) — Unable to make rent, unsure about how safe they will be at a shelter, a single parent in New Westminster is considering moving their family into a converted bus.

Like so many during this pandemic, Jennifer Parker and their three-year-old daughter have been struggling month-to-month.

The family won’t be able to afford their home after the end of March.

“It was just this past month that I realized this is it, this is going to be the month that is not sustainable,” Parker says.

“It was pretty hard realizing okay, I’m not going to make next month. We have to move no matter what.”

Parker had to stop working in October due to health concerns. With a lack of affordable options and concerns over living in a communal space during COVID-19, Parker has found one affordable possibility — a 1960’s converted school bus for $5,500

“We can raise money and by a bus and take it on the road and live the nomad life as it were,” they say. ” If we don’t like it we can change it later on, but for right now it has heat, electricity, hot water — all the basics that we need.”

Parker is hopeful they’ll be able to afford the bus, but is mentally preparing for the reality they just won’t have anywhere to go come April, and a shelter may be the only option.

“I totally get that if the fundraiser isn’t successful that is where we need to go. It is one of the paths we might have to take.”

David Brown with the Lookout Housing Society, says Parker’s situation shows how close so many people are to losing their homes, and how the pandemic has compounded the affordability crisis.

“The folks that do have a history of homelessness are still there, but now we have people that — up until a little while ago — they had a pretty good life going for them. They lose their job, struggle to pay the rent, move into homes with multiple people, and they are still in a place they can’t afford,” he says.

Brown says there are a number of supports needed to help people in situations like Parker’s, but there’s really only one thing that will help.

“What we need more than anything is housing. We need housing, and we need a variety of housing for a variety of different folks.”