A couple who has been living at a Victoria Travelodge say they were given two days to vacate the property, shortly after the province gave an order to move the homeless into Victoria hotels.
Curtis Caziere, Liza Charlie and their dog were on the edge of homelessness before they moved into the Travelodge by Wyndham in January. What started as temporary accommodations became more permanent once the COVID-19 pandemic began, something they say made finding housing even more difficult.
But on the evening of April 27, the couple says they received a phone call from the front desk, telling them they had to be out by the morning of April 30. There was no explanation, they say, but they were told that all of the tenants in that building were being evicted by head office.
The news came just days after an announcement from the B.C. government that several hotels in Victoria and Vancouver had made agreements to serve as temporary, supportive housing spaces for hundreds of vulnerable people living in tent cities.
In Victoria, an estimated 360 people currently live in encampments along Pandora Avenue and within Topaz Park. BC Housing has secured 324 hotel spaces in the city and has until May 9 to help people move into temporary housing.
Caziere and Charlie could not confirm if they were being asked to leave to make room for people living in tent cities, but they now worry they might soon be among the homeless themselves. Taziere says they pay $400 a week to stay in the hotel and are struggling to find anything equally affordable.
“Are you kidding me? We can’t survive. We got nowhere to go. Period,” Caziere says. “I would like them to stop this from happening. I don’t want to be staying outside, it’s cold out there.”
The province says BC Housing has communicated to hotel operators the “expectation that no one be displaced to accommodate new residents moving in.”
“BC Housing will be reaching out to these individuals to support them, and will work with them to find them housing if needed,” says Chandler Grieve, COVID-19 information centre media relations manager, in a statement. “Our focus is always to house those that need housing.”
Travelodge Canada told Black Press Media the Victoria location was independently owned and operated. Requests for comment from Travelodge management were not returned by the time of publication.
– With files from Shalu Mehta and Ashley Wadhwani.
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