Catherine Sas, from Lake Cowichan, faces being homeless for the first time in her life. (Submitted photo)

Lake Cowichan woman facing homelessness running out of options

Few solutions being offered

With the possibility of becoming homeless for the first time in her life staring her in the face, Catherine Sas is feeling hopeless and is very frustrated.

Sas, who is 60 years old and lives in Lake Cowichan, has been residing in a two-bedroom condo with her daughter for years, but her daughter is planning on moving out, which leaves Sas unable to cover the rent of $975 per month by herself.

She lives on a fixed income of $1,139 per month from the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit, and her expenses every month before food, gas and other necessities are even considered is $1,400.


Sas said she has been advised to get another room mate, but she’s in precarious physical health requiring a number of surgeries and has a small dog, so finding a room mate is not an easy solution for her.

She has also been told to find another place to live that she can afford, but there are very few accommodations available as the region is experiencing a housing crisis, and what is available is well over $1,000 for a single-bedroom apartment.

“I only pay $975 a month now because the landlord knows I’m a good tenant and wants to help me out, but he could be getting a lot more for my condo,” she said.

“I’ve put my name on a wait list for accommodations at BC Housing, but I’m told I could be waiting for more than two years before anything will come from that, and I was told by community services in Lake Cowichan that all they could offer me is a tent. I’ve contacted local politicians and various government ministries, and I keep getting passed from one to another and going in circles with no one seeming to be able to do anything to help unless I’m homeless first. It’s very frustrating.”

Sas said she has been working to try to find solutions for her dilemma for five months and is now running out of hope that she won’t soon be homeless.

The Office of the Premier did reply to a letter Sas sent explaining her situation and asking for help by stating a number of initiatives the NDP government has implemented to help renters find and/or keep suitable accommodations.


They include lowering the annual allowable rent increase formula in the province by two per cent, providing funding for rent banks in the 2019 budget that provides short-term loans with little to no interest to low-income tenants who can’t pay their rent due to a financial crisis, and introduced a comprehensive housing plan focused on creating long-term solutions to the housing affordability crisis.

But the response didn’t offer any solutions specifically for Sas

“We recognize that there is still work to be done, and we will continue taking steps to make meaningful, long-term improvements to housing affordability in B.C.,” the letter from the Office of the Premier concluded.

Sonia Furstenau, MLA for the Cowichan Valley, said that while she can’t discuss the specifics of Sas’s case, her office has been in correspondence with various provincial ministries about Sas’s predicament and on affordable housing in the region, and across B.C., in general.


“We’re generally seeing more people at risk of becoming homeless and that’s a big concern,” she said.

“It’s hard on these individuals, and it’s a lot harder to rehouse someone once they have lost their homes than supporting them while they are still in their homes. I hope the government will not allow people to become homeless because of lack of supports. We need a more urgent sense from the government that they intend to take immediate steps to help people who are struggling.”

But Furstenau said she has not heard anything concrete back from the ministries that were contacted on the issue.

“I hope solutions can be found for these issues, and we’ll keep trying,” she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

homeless housing

Just Posted

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Tyson Muzzillo, regional manager of BC Cannabis Store, welcomes shoppers to their Uptown location, opening on June 16. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Government-run cannabis store opening at Saanich’s Uptown

BC Cannabis Store the first for government in Greater Victoria, 27th in province

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Treated sewage bound for dump until CRD upgrades processing to required standard

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

Most Read