Candidate forum will examine housing needs in Summerland

Candidate forum will examine housing needs in Summerland

Low vacancy rates, high rent costs affecting those on low or minimum wage

The Summerland Food Bank and Resource Centre is sponsoring an all-candidates meeting to discuss housing challenges and needs within the community.

John Bubb, president of the food bank, said there has been an increase in food bank users who cannot find a safe, comfortable place to live.

“More people are having to live in their vehicles, some are camping out in the orchards that surround our town, and it’s getting worse,” he said.

He added that there is often nowhere to go if a family or an individual is without housing on a temporary basis, and local and government agencies struggle to find anywhere that is safe and affordable.

Because of Summerland’s low vacancy rate, rents have increased and those on low or minimum wage are finding it increasingly difficult to secure a good place to live, even though they qualify for the province’s rent geared to income programs.

The forum, which will be moderated by Summerland lawyer Denese Espeut-Post, will address housing needs in Summerland.

Local organizations who are faced with housing challenges will have the opportunity to speak and candidates will be able to talk about what they would do, if elected.

The meeting will be held at Summerland United Church on Monday, Oct. 15 beginning at 7 p.m.