Letter: Burnaby landlords shun people who need roommates to pay the rent

I rent a three-bedroom apartment with my two roommates. It is a market rental at $2,200 a month.

We have received an eviction notice.

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This notice was given due to the fact that one roommate decided to withhold rent. Both myself and my other roommate paid our portion. I immediately jumped into finding new housing. The cheapest I could find was studio apartments for $1,000 a month. These apartment listings specifically say, “One person only.”

One person cannot afford this. Utilities are not even included. I am a single person, so I am not a priority in Burnaby.

Women’s shelters (one hung up the phone on me), transition houses, and BC Housing have all turned me away. I don’t fit the criteria. My roommate bangs on my door in the middle of the night threatening me, but she’s not a male partner using his fists on my body.

I call the cops: “We can’t settle a roommate dispute,” is what one of the officers tells me. My mental health suffers to the point where I question if it is worth it to continue living.

I, a single, low-priority person is preparing to be homeless. I recognize that if I became an addict, then I would have support. I recognize that if I put myself in an abusive “romantic” relationship, then I would get help. The offers I get for housing are from men asking for a sugar daddy arrangement. But even they say I must be “young” and “hot.”

I possess neither of these qualities. I don’t have family in this city and even if they were here, they too are low income.
The laws this city and province enforce give power to people with harmful intentions. They force people like me to become desperate and hopeless. We end up contemplating drastic measures. “If I prostituted myself, how much would a John pay?” Or, “If I crushed up my vitamin C tablets, could I get away with selling them as cocaine?” But they remain thoughts. My conscience won’t allow me to do these unlawful things.
This city is failing good people.
Lace Landry, Burnaby

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