One in four Edmontonians have a hard time affording homes, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on a place to live, with more than 20,000 households spending over 50% on housing.
Who are they?
- people with disabilities or mental health concerns
- seniors on fixed incomes
- nurses, plumbers, dental hygienists
- the person stocking shelves at the local grocery store
- restaurant servers, hair stylists and barbers
- your child’s preschool teacher
- daycare providers
- students at trade schools or university
- young families
- recent university graduates
- social workers and working poor households (often working 2-3 lower paying jobs)
- women and children fleeing violence.
What are their stories?
Too often, debates and conversations around housing are focused on more academic discussions like parking impact studies, management strategies or best practices, and lose sight of the humanity of those who simply need help affording a home. But these stories need to be heard too as part of a balanced conversation. Here are a few people sharing their experience in order to help all of us see the real challenges faced by our flesh-and-blood neighbours.
“My son Jude and I ended up living in a walk up off 107 Ave. My laundry would get stolen, there was always the smell of pot in the building. It was noisy, and there was nowhere for kids to play outside. This is not what I wanted for Jude. I knew the risks of these environments. I looked around for a better safe place for us to live, but the rents were beyond my reach.”
A traumatic brain injury left George with various challenges, including rage issues, anxiety and delusions. It made it hard to work and difficult to manage his day-to-day life. “It changed everything,” he explains.
“My life shattered and I couldn’t pick up the pieces,” she whispers. “It broke me.”
“She spent a month in the psychiatric unit under observation, and doctors diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder. It was the first time someone had given a name to mental health issues that reached back to her teen years.”
Lorna’s Story – why housing matters for seniors
Albert’s Story – why housing matters for youth
Nesra’s Story – why housing matters for family