At least some of the people living in an unlicensed trailer park in South Langley were re-homed after an eviction notice arrived last month, according to a local homelessness outreach worker.
Fraser Holland of Starting Point said a number of the approximately 15 to 20 people from the site were found new housing.
The situation was a complicated one for the residents, and for local social service agencies trying to help them find new homes before their time on the property ran out at the end of March.
The Advance Times spoke to two of the residents, Merv and Mike, at the end of March.
“We just want a place to settle down, but we can’t find a place to settle down,” Merv said at the time.
“I have nowhere to go,” Mike said.
Both men were living on disability, and were having difficulty finding any rental place they could afford, even by pooling their resources with other residents of the informal trailer park.
The park was a rental property in the 2000 block of 200th Street in South Brookswood, with an absentee landlord.
The primary renter had allowed about a dozen trailers, fifth wheels, and RVs to be set up on the property, and the residents paid rent. But with the primary renter’s recent death, the residents had to leave.
“I can’t speak for all of the folks that were residing in the trailer yard,” said Holland, “but Starting Point’s different teams worked with LCSS’ ICMT [Langley Community Services Society’s Intensive Case Management Team] and Lookout Society’s team to provide options and alternatives to whomever we had contact with, and there were successful housing transitions.”
Some of the residents there have found new housing, some are currently in interim housing awaiting a permanent situation, and some haven’t found housing, Holland said.
Due to confidentiality, Holland couldn’t speak about individual cases. Some of the people living there weren’t connected, or chose not to connect, with local housing agencies.
Multiple agencies are tackling housing for people on the edge of homelessness across Langley.
BC Housing, Fraser Health, and federal funding from the Homelessness Partnering Strategy flow into local teams and individuals in Langley who try to find safe, adequate, and affordable housing for people, Holland said.
But the housing crunch has made that very difficult.
“Without safe, adequate, and affordable housing options, then people will look to situations where they might not have access to their own water,” Holland said, “where their access to electricity vital to warmth, and very basic food preparation is controlled by a landlord who turns it on/off at will, and their bathroom facilities are a port-a-potty in the yard.”
In Langley, groups as diverse as churches, shelters, social service non-profits, RCMP, and bylaw officers work together, Holland said.
But he expects to see similar situations to the unlicensed trailer park in the future unless the housing crisis ends.
“Without addressing the housing continuum, we will continue to see sub-par housing be a profitable enterprise for individuals that are not interested in quality, or safety, of housing nor the welfare of those accessing that housing,” Holland said.