Stephen Vanderkroft and Sonja Dye are struggling to find a place to rent in the Shuswap within their budget.

Couple seeking home before baby arrives

Limited rental market adds to frustration for couple seeking place to live.

A couple in an increasingly difficult financial and accommodation situation is appealing to landlords in the Shuswap for a place to live before their child is born in October.

Stephen Vanderkroft and his wife Sonja Dye have been staying with their friends in Malakwa since May. The house they were renting has black mould, and they are engaged in arbitration with their landlord over how to handle the matter.

The couple is in search of a two or three bedroom house, apartment or suite in Salmon Arm, Sicamous or Canoe with an absolute maximum budget of $800 including utilities.

Negotiating the already challenging rental market in the Shuswap is made more difficult by the fact that Vanderkroft and Dye are on income assistance.

Vanderkroft said the couple receive only $980 per month to cover housing, food and other necessities.

“When was the last time you saw a decent place for a family at a rate of $600?” Vanderkroft said.

Vanderkroft said he is willing to work in exchange for accommodation, his skills include basic repairs such as drywalling and painting, roofing and lawn maintenance.

“I would be using these skills for employment but there is always the fear it will not be permanent or full time. If you make wages you need to claim it on a monthly stub and they deduct that amount from the following cheque,” he said.

Vanderkroft said the couple have had lots of leads on places but a lot of landlords get scared away by income assistance, or didn’t even return their call.