Tuesday, March 17, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 11 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week

“I’m afraid we’re going to miss out on a great industry. I think we have to try to do everything we can to bring the business community up.”

- Councillor David Cole  
- on the OHV bylaw   

 

 
Christina Howard’s spring plans didn’t include being evicted from her home, being unable to obtain a new one, and facing an early March cold snap while living in her car. But as the month reaches its midpoint, her circumstances have still kept her from getting back on her feet, even in a small town like the Crowsnest Pass.
Howard is upset about the things that have so far kept her homeless, and about the events that led to her losing the roof over her head.
A sufferer of chronic depression, Howard says that her doctors and her social workers have told her that she shouldn’t work right now. She receives financial assistance to get by every month. For the past year she has rented a place in the Pass, but all that changed this February.
Howard says she was paying gas and electricty at her rental accommodations, but that the water was in her landlady’s name. The landlady never brought it up in conversation, she says, until one day she approached Howard with a $537 bill for water for the past year.
Her financial assistance program was unable to cover the bill, she says, and when a pay-over-time system was suggested, Howard received an eviction notice saying she had to be out by February 28.
Since then her life has been in a downward spiral. All of her possessions are in storage, which costs her a portion of her monthly assistance, and she has been unable to secure a new home.
 
Howard says that when she still had enough money to get into a new place with a damage deposit and first month’s rent, but had to give it up when her social worker told her she could not have it because it was too expensive. As time has gone by, she can no longer afford the up-front money required to get into a new place.
To make matters worse, she has been denied assistance from the Homeless and Eviction Prevention Fund, designed to help people with this up-front money. Howard says she hasn’t been told why.
James Frey, with Alberta Employment and Immigration, said that he could not comment on Howard’s particular situation. He says that there are some limits on how much help a person can receive, depending on circumstances. “We will try to help (people) out,” he says, adding that they try to get people connected to other resources in the community.
Howard, however, doesn’t know what she is going to do. She has been staying with others when she can and in her car when she can’t, but knows that neither is a permanent solution.
“I’m back down to square one,” she says. “I have to start from scratch again. It’s been really cold out.
“I never asked to be sick,” says Howard. “This added stress isn’t helping me get better. I can’t go on like this. I just can’t.”
The Crowsnest Centre has offered her a temporary place to stay, and is currently trying to work out financial details, but for now it is uncertain what will happen with this homeless lady in the Pass.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 11 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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