I'd like to tell you a story about Calgary Housing.
There has been a lot of ideas, conversation, and talking in Calgary involving the less fortunate.
As an example, there is The Plan to End Homelessness. Their are several agencies that are talking about it
Notice,I said talking. Notice, I did not say help. There is a reason for that.
To explain the reason, I need to tell you a story.
The story involves Calgary Housing.
But first ,I'd like to introduce you to Jodie.
Jodie is a single mom who has been clean for 4 years. She has 2 kids and a job. She is trying to do what she can to put one foot in front of the other. To get ahead.
Because of where Jodie has been, which was homeless, she found herself in Calgary Housing. A great opportunity to live in a reasonable house with affordable rent.
Now, with this affordable rent comes some expectations. They include a clean house, clean yard, no live in roommates, updates on income changes, and no pets.
Let's talk about pets. Also, let's talk about rules.
Jodie's job shifts vary. They could start as early as 5:30. They could go late into the evening. With two small children, a job like this is not easy to plan around.
Fortunately, she has a babysitter. Not only a babysitter, a free babysitter. How many of you with kids could have used a free babysitter? Obviously, a blessing. Particularly with no daycare open at 5:30 AM. As well as $1,000 a month cost for a daycare.
The one thing with the babysitter is she has epilepsy. Because of that, she has a dog. A dog that she is required to be with her should certain health issues arise. This certainly would be understandable right?
Apparently, not for Calgary Housing.
We will move the scene to Tuesday May 20. Jodie comes home and checks her mail. In it she finds something shocking.
She is given an eviction notice.
Now the amazing thing about this eviction notice is Calgary Housing gave her until May 31 to leave. The notice is dated on May 2, and she got it May 20. I have lived in Calgary all my life and I have never seen any mail coming from Calgary take 18 days to get too me.
Now when Jodie approached the house manager about why, she got an interesting response. She was told she had a dog.
According to the Calgary Housing website, pets are allowed in some premises. You must ask for permission. She didn't ask for permission because, first of all,it's not her dog and the dog does not live there. Secondly, as I learned from another source that lives in Calgary Housing, there are many tenants who own cats and dogs. And have not got permission for them. Jodie has seen cats and dogs in her property. Many tenants will hide their pets during routine inspections.
Others have too.
The situation gets worse . Jodie explained her situation to the manager. She explained about her job hours as well as her babysitter's health, this is the response she got.
"It's not my problem".
When her babysitter was on the premise, she got confronted by an older gentleman who guards the premise. She was walking her dog when she was confronted by this gentleman, she explained her situation. This is the response she got.
"You don't belong here"
Now, perhaps you think this is an isolated incident. It's not. Another source who lives in Calgary Housing me that is a common way the tenants are treated. Particularly those that are "difficult or bad".
"They put the fear of homelessness into you if you don't comply and believe me when you are on a fixed or low income and get evicted from housing it is very defeating" My source said.
Too be clear, Jodie is not looking for a handout. Jodie is willing to move and overall thinks it would be better if she did. What she wants is more time.
"It's not easy to come up with 3,000 for a place."$1,500 for rent and $1,500 for damage deposit."Jodie said
As you can imagine, Jodie is frustrated. She has never missed her rent. She's a good tenant who is trying hard to take the right steps in life.
"Life is supposed to improve once you work. I refuse to go back to where I was" she said
I'm also frustrated, I'm frustrated by the fact that an organization that is suppose to be a support for families feels they can belittle their tenants. There is a lack of compassion, heart, and quite frankly any reason to treat people like this. People that are overcoming so much to move and stay ahead.
If you combine this story with the stories Tim Barber shared on my Podcast. As well as the recent issues with the Mustard Seed's parking stalls, I think,it's time to ask this question.
Is Calgary saying they want to help the needy? Or does Calgary actually want to help the needy?