Here's A Letter Sent To Us From A Woman Whose Sisters Could Soon Be Homeless In Peterborough

The letter is unedited. Here it is in its entirety...

Back in December the furnace stopped working in the apartment my 2 sisters rent. One sister has a part time job that she struggles to get hours at, and was recently laid off from the second job she had. The other sister is on assistance as she has a disorder that doesn't allow her to work.

They told the landlord about the furnace and he did not fix the problem. At Christmas time it was 13 degrees in that apartment in the morning on a good day. Due to the landlord not fixing the furnace, they had to spend the little money they had between them for the month on space heaters and bills and did not feel obligated to pay the rent, since the Landlord Tenant Act states the landlord must provide certain vital services and the provisioning for heat is one.

When the hydro bills for December and January came in, as you can imagine, they were large, too large for 2 young struggling girls. They were unable to pay the bills on time, didn't know they could call and make payment arrangements, and the hydro was cut off.

When my younger sister called her assistance worker, she was told they couldn't help her because the bills were in my working sisters name. They gave her a number to call the Housing Resource Centre. So, my working sister called them and had to leave a message. They returned her call later that afternoon and asked her some questions about her situation and her work situation. As soon as she told them how much money she had made in the last 4 weeks, which was around 260.00 they told her she did not make enough money for them to be able to assist her?!?! To out astonishment she was TOO POOR to receive help from the people we were told could help her with emergency funding.

My sisters are in the process of filing a T2 abatement of rent and moving out of that apartment. My working sister was forced to file for assistance, she is not happy about it either. The hydro has been re-connected now and they are leaving.

My concern is, how was she too poor to receive help in her situation? She works and contributes to this community as much as possible. She certainly still has to pay taxes that go towards these community programs right? Never has any run-ins with the Why?

Why was she literally forced to file for assistance? Left with no other options or people who would help those girls for a month to figure out the situation? It makes me very disappointed in this Community.

She is working hard to find more work and to get out of a bad situation, it would have been nice for the Housing Resource Centre to not turn their backs on her.

Thanks for listening, please help me make people aware of this horrible situation.

*Also, just so you know, Welfare only pays my sick sister 595.00 a month. If you think about that, that is supposed to cover rent/housing, heat/hydro, and food/hygene items for one person each month. Welfare will only allow 368.00 each month for payment towards rent, that leaves 227 a month to pay for heat (enbridge), hydro (PUC) and buy groceries. When the heat and hydro average payments are factored in, she received $2.90 a day to spend on food/hygene. Is it just me or does anyone see a problem here?? Welfare told her she needs to find a more affordable apartment....anyone have an apartment she can rent for less than $200 a month?

—Samantha Payne

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