Man who wants to remain anonymous offers the Springers farmland where they'll relocate their trailer
A London, Ont., family who went from having housing to living in a 30-year-old fifth-wheel trailer in an east-end parking lot has been given a chance at a resolution, and most recently a way to get there.
Since CBC News first shared the Springers' story on Tuesday, a man who would prefer to stay anonymous has offered them a place to stay, on part of his 1.6-hectare property near Clinton, Ont., according to Kim Springer.
"Speaking with the gentleman was so nice," she said Friday. "He talked about [having room for] a greenhouse to put up because we love to grow our own vegetables. There's goats on the farm, there's Mennonites with fresh eggs just down the street.
"It's just right up our alley, exactly what we were looking for."
Since initially remarking that they had no options, and a lack of municipal help in relocating their trailer, she told CBC News their transportation problem was solved and they would be relocating their trailer by Friday evening.
A family facing homelessness is offered refuge
Kim Springer tells CBC News a man, who would prefer to stay anonymous, has offered herself, her husband Dan and their 12-year-old grandson a place to stay on part of his four-acre property near Clinton, Ont.
Kim and her husband Dan Springer had been living in a gravel lot near McMahen Park with their 12-year-old grandson. They wanted to share their story to raise awareness about the type of hidden homelessness they are experiencing.
According to recent estimates from the city, the number of unhoused people was at 1,868 as of October — double the rate two years ago, when some 966 people were believed to be homeless in 2020.
The federal government estimates 235,000 Canadians a year are homeless, but researchers with the Homelessness Counts project figure the numbers are much worse because Ottawa's figures are based on figures from front-line agencies.
Rent increase forced this family out
The Springers had rented a home for 15 years before new owners raised their rent. At the same time, Kim retired with a pension that was too small to cover the cost of the rent increase.
When they realized they had to move, they bought a camper with the intention of going to a campground or trailer park temporarily while they decided what to do. After buying the trailer, they learned their trailer was too old and not up to cosmetic standards for most parks.
After moving the trailer to a neighbour's driveway, they were eventually evicted and ended up at a parking lot in McMahen Park, where they told CBC their concerns over how exposed they are and the possibility of another eviction by bylaw officials.
With a fitting offer on the table for the Springers, another roadblock cropped up for a short time — they had no way to get their trailer to Clinton.
When CBC News arrived to catch up with the Springers on Thursday, City of London officials were present. These officials offered water and other supplies, but said they were unable to provide any help in relocating the trailer, citing liability concerns, according to Dan Springer.
Private towing wasn't an option for the cash-strapped family because of pricey towing fees, he added.
Since Thursday, accommodations have been made to have the family's camper moved to the location near Clinton, Kim said.
The community has rallied around the Springers.
"Some people stopped by, don't even know their names yet, and they asked us, 'Do you need some gas?'" said Kim, who added the same people offered to bring them other supplies as well. "We give them the gas can and $20. We knew 20 bucks wouldn't fill it, but they came back with it full."
People across the country also commented online, with many saying the Springers' story resonated with them in a time of rising rent, stagnating wages and rising living costs.
With the final roadblock between the Springers and some sense of security having been cleared, they continue to advocate for others sharing similar plights.
"It's been an eye opener. We always thought, can we do this? We've proven to ourselves, yes we can do it," said Kim.
"I don't think it's necessary that the citizens of London need to do it. There should be a lot more supports in here [so] it doesn't have to end up this way."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alessio is a London-raised multimedia journalist. Since graduating from Fanshawe College's Broadcast Journalism program, he's worked in markets from Toronto to Windsor. He loves telling stories about social issues and covering breaking news. Alessio can be heard on weekday afternoons reading the news for Afternoon Drive. In his free time, he can be found enjoying a good book, watching a documentary, or learning to cook a new recipe.
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