Whistler business owners face homelessness amid low vacancy rates
A family that runs a local business in Whistler is facing homelessness amid sky-high rental prices and low vacancy rates.
The Caldwells moved to the resort town about a year and half ago in hopes of expanding their company.
But in addition to running the business, Charity Caldwell has to work two overnight jobs, seven days a week just to make ends meet.
“It’s the reality of what we’re dealing with,” she told CTV News.
Caldwell, her partner, their two children and two dogs recently moved into an RV in hopes of escaping the housing crisis.
“We packed up all our stuff and came on a whim and we’re happier than we’ve ever been in our lives,” Caldwell said.
The family, however, is now being forced out of the RV park because of a disagreement with the landlord.
Caldwell said they now have nowhere to go.
She’s on Whistler’s waitlist for rental housing, but was told it could be a three to 10-year wait.
“All I need is a plugin, just to keep the heat on and the lights on,” Cladwell said. “(There are) almost 700 people that have been waiting and I’ve been on that list for five months.”
Many other Whistler residents are also paying high costs for the bare necessities.
“I’m paying $1,500. That’s just for my own bedroom,” said Stephane Jen.
Local officials say they’re doing what they can to improve the situation.
“What we’ve really asked businesses to do is to step up now with insuring that, when they’re hiring people, not only do they offer people a job, but they offer them accommodation as well,” said Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden.
The municipality has also created a task force to deal with shortage in rental housing. At last week’s council meeting, officials made four recommendations that would see 1,000 beds reserved for residents created in the next five years.
In the meantime, Caldwell said her family is not giving up.
“We’re just going to keep working at it and keep going and have hope,” she said.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Allison Tanner