Residents of Fernwood Grace and Rob, share their Victoria housing story.
We are very grateful for the social safety net that's helped us out along the way.
What's your home like?
Rob and I live in a two-bedroom in-law suite with our two kids Asher and Evie. We rent from our friends Judy and Kyle, who own the home. They have kids the same age as ours! We have a built-in ‘village’ to share childcare, someone to borrow milk from at 6 in the morning, and best-friends for the whole family just upstairs.
While our families fit the small spaces, we prefer to live out in our neighbourhood. Fernwood Square and all the nearby parks act as an extension of our living room.
How do you earn a living?
I mostly work from home doing consulting research in both the not-for-profit and private sector. I also teach gender and politics at UVic. Our suite is on the smaller side, so our kitchen table and nearby coffee shops serve as my office. My partner Rob like many in Victoria, works for the public service. He can be found riding his one-wheel down Pembroke to and from work everyday.
Rob was born and raised in Victoria. I moved here in 2008 for an internship at the legislature, then fell in love with Victoria's beauty, the quality of life and community feel. Oh…and also for the tall, handsome guy I met along the way.
Describe your ideal neighbourhood.
Walkability! Can I walk to a grocery store? Can I walk for coffee? Can I take my kids to the park or community centre without getting in my car? Can I find care for my children nearby? Fernwood offers an incredible community feel. We love painting a new pole every year and try to attend the community dinners whenever we can.
Any housing struggles you would like to share?
We have experienced the precariousness young families experience when it comes to housing in this city. We are very grateful for the social safety net that's helped us out along the way. When I finished school in Vancouver, we prepared to return home to Victoria. We reached out to dozens of potential rentals and not one landlord returned our email or call. We landed in a temporary three month rental, with a two-year-old and a five-week old in tow.
We were there a little less than a month before our housing became unsafe for our family and we had to leave. Very fortunately, we have family nearby, so we headed out to Metchosin for a place to stay and regroup. Did I mention we had a five-week-old baby?
After a month with family, we were so lucky when our current home became available. What would we have done if we didn’t have family in town? And if our friends had not purchased a home with a vacant suite? I don’t like to think about it, because I don't feel confident we would have found a way to stay in this city, we love so much.
I know many families that have experienced similar struggles. Some have found a way to stay, by giving their kiddos the bedroom and sleeping in their living room. Others moved in with family or postponed having more children. I know many don’t have the safety net that we do.
Grace Lore is running for Victoria city council this fall, she wants to make sure that there is space at the table - and space in this city - for young families to live in diverse, shareable, and inclusive neighbourhoods. Check out her website www.gracelore.ca and her Facebook @graceinvic