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This single dad makes $75K a year. He can’t find affordable housing in Vancouver

Karl Eaton says he can’t find a two-bedroom apartment for less than half of his salary so that he can afford other expenses like groceries and paying for his son’s post-secondary education.

Karl Eaton says he needs a place to stay by July 31

A young man in his late teens and a man in his fifties stand arm-in-arm in a wooded park

Karl Eaton has been working since he was 16 years old.

Today he has a full-time job with Telus, making approximately $74,900 a year, but the 55-year-old single father says his take-home pay isn't enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver for himself and his son.

"I'm gonna be homeless in probably 30 days if I don't find a place that I can afford — reasonably afford — without it taking my whole salary," he told The Early Edition host Gloria Macarenko.

Eaton and his 18-year-old son Tristan have been living in basement suites for the past two years but kept having to move when owners sold the property or moved their relatives into the suite. They're currently staying with a friend, but they need to find a place to live by July 31.

"I'm pretty frightened," he said. "If I can't find a place, am I gonna be living out of my car? I'm not sure what I'm gonna be doing. I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with my son."

Eaton says his bi-weekly paycheque is about $1,550 after taxes. That works out to about $3,400 a month over the year.

According to latest numbers from Rentals.ca, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver is over $3,600.

Eaton says he can't find a two-bedroom apartment for less than half of his salary, which he needs so he can afford other expenses like groceries and paying for his son's post-secondary education.

The Early Edition7:23Vancouver single dad says his options are running out to find an affordable home

An all-too-familiar challenge in Vancouver…to find an affordable, secure home. We hear a Vancouver single father's plea.

Public plea for help

He posted a plea for help finding an apartment on a Kitsilano neighbourhood website saying he does "not see any help for someone in [his] position."

"I earn just enough not to be able to use single-parent status, but not enough to provide a home for my son, even though I have worked and paid taxes in Vancouver for 39 years."

WATCH | Single father Karl Eaton tries calling a helpline to find housing:

Single father in Vancouver tries calling a helpline to find housing

20 hours ago

Duration 0:52

Karl Eaton, 55, says he's looking for help to secure an affordable apartment, but his mid-range income disqualifies him for most resources.

Eaton is on several waitlists for co-ops and Metro Vancouver Housing. He says he's looking for anything affordable on the Lower Mainland, as far as Coquitlam, about 30 kilometres east of Vancouver. He even reached out to the constituency office of Premier David Eby but was told he doesn't qualify for subsidies.

With his $75,000 annual salary, Eaton is above B.C. Housing's maximum income limit of $72,000 to qualify for two-bedroom affordable housing.

"I have to be broken or homeless to get help, even though I'm a functioning member of society," he said.

Premier says new housing units on the way

Eby says Eaton's situation is a reality for far too many British Columbians.

When asked if B.C. Housing should update its income limits to match inflation, Eby said the provincial agency already has "a significant waitlist" and the province is focused on building more housing.

"A lot of our new housing strategy focuses on middle-income people [and] using public land to build that housing that's actually attainable for people to rent or to purchase," the premier told Macarenko in an interview on CBC's The Early Edition.

The Early Edition12:46Premier David Eby on the cost of housing in British Columbia

Canada's Premiers converge in Winnipeg next week for their annual summer meeting and B.C.'s Premier says housing will be at the top of his agenda.

Eby says part of that is working with federal and municipal governments to get housing built faster. He says his government has implemented legislation to speed up permit approvals for new developments and set targets for municipalities for the number of housing units they have to build.

But Eaton is skeptical that more housing means more affordable housing, especially when he sees multi-unit houses being torn down.

"They're getting torn down and affordable housing is not going up in their place," he said. "Luxury condos or townhomes are going up in their place."

The single father says his son Tristan can't decide on a post-secondary institution until they know where they'll be living. The 18-year-old plans to do an online math course with Vancouver Community College or go to Langara College to study biology and business.

Eaton says his son will have to work this summer to help pay for rent, but he would like him to be able to focus on his studies come the fall.

On The Coast10:19BC United Finance Critic on housing affordability

As prices hit new heights and housing affordability as its lowest…does the provincial government need to do more? BC United Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar, the official Opposition Critic for Finance, joined us with more.


Eva Uguen-Csenge


Eva Uguen-Csenge is a multimedia reporter for CBC News in Vancouver with an interest in investigative and data-driven stories. Get in touch with her at eva.uguen-csenge@cbc.ca or on Twitter @evacsenge for story tips.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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