Move to Halifax They Said.

Welcome to Homelessness

Renting in Halifax, Nova Scotia has become dire. The city is currently sitting at a 1.5% vacancy rate. Making it not only difficult for people to move here for job opportunities, but it’s also pushing the residents of Halifax out of their homes.

Recently a friend of my partner’s was basically “rent evicted” from her apartment. She received a notice that her rent was increasing by $800 a month! Which is not illegal for landlords of rental properties. The landlord simply has to give you 4 months notice at which point you can choose to not accept the new terms. The information can be found here. Click on the guide.

Prior to returning to Halifax, we lived in Saint John, New Brunswick for 3 years. New Brunswick has far better measures in place to protect renters. In Nova Scotia, we have far better measures in place to protect landlords.

Since landing Halifax almost 11 months ago, we have been searching for suitable housing, settling on shared accommodations for now, which is not going well. See my piece about our recent eviction.

When I was younger, students in this city, (Halifax is a University town) would maybe have 3 or 4 students sharing a house. Now you’ve got kids in sleeping blankets on floors, 8-9 in a house just to complete their education.

Another huge problem is the overabundance of Air BnBs. It seems everyone is jumping on the Air BnB bandwagon, including property owners who are buying rental units and turning them strictly into Air BnB. Why rent to tenants when you can make $140/ night? So far, no regulations have been put into place regarding Air BnBs, despite residents demanding it, but I’ll tell you this-

Halifax renters are fucking sick of Air BnBs. Not only are you losing out on rental opportunities, but you have different people coming and going, often causing destruction at neighbouring properties. You never know your neighbour anymore. This is not a new concern for residents in Halifax.

I may have tweeted the Mayor of Halifax today.

We are getting so frustrated trying to find apartments here. Apartments that just a decade ago were $800-$900 are now $1500-$2000 a month! This is Halifax not Las Vegas for fuck sake. And even though my partner, our dog and I lived in a 400 square foot, 1 bedroom apartment in Saint John, think again about sharing a 1 bedroom in Halifax. Most places don’t allow it. Most places don’t allow dogs. Here’s a brief sampling of apartment ads near me from Kijiji.

2 Bedrooms
1 Bedroom
Apartments Wanted

Who can afford 2- $3000 a month on rent? Buy a house if you can pay that. What the hell are you doing throwing your money away like that?

In the fledgeling economy of the Maritimes, Nova Scotia is getting slammed by rent hikes, new rules, (all in favour of the landlord), a high unemployment rate, despite statistics showing growth, I know an awful lot of people who are either out of work, can’t find work, or disabled.

Many fear this will increase the homelessness rates in the province. Halifax’s shelters are already at maximum capacity.

Something needs to be done. Renters need to take back the power from the landlords. I suggest writing your MLAs, MPs, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, Premiere McNeil and any of your local city councillors and raise the concern of housing and Air BnBs.

If we don’t raise our concerns, lower-income people, the elderly and the disabled will end up displaced. They’re already pushing us all to the outskirts of the city. Can’t see the crisis? Then I guess there’s no problem.

How is rent in your city? Are you fed up with Air BnB yet?

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

S.

Further Reading (older, but still relevant)

https://acorncanada.org/metro-news-halifax-tenants-group-calls-return-rent-control-wants-it-become-election-issue

Images

Homeless Woman https://insp.ngo/american-students-provide-homeless/

Other images from Kijiji.ca

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ARGH.

Stressed out womanWe were served one week ago with an eviction notice. For one week I have been unable to sleep more than three or four hours at a time. Unable to eat more than one small meal a day. I’ve had migraines. I’ve vomited, and I’m in a flare up. I’m having some pretty bad PTSD nightmares. My speech is slurred and I can’t stay out of the loo.

Thanks so much for this.

The vacancy rate in Halifax is 1.5%. There was just a piece published in the Chronicle Herald yesterday about how young people aren’t able to come to Halifax anymore because the rents are not only ridiculously high, but you’re lucky if you can even find housing.

So you tell me in what world two decent tenants are facing homelessness by the word of one person?

How can one person have the power to throw our lives into such upheaval? We had been nothing but kind and considerate since we moved in. If this individual didn’t like us, she had three months while we sublet, to change her mind about signing a lease with us. Yet she chose to.  She had ample opportunities to tell us if she had a problem with us, but she didn’t.

Every time I asked, (and I asked multiple times because I am not an asshole, and certainly didn’t want to disrupt anyone else) whether or not we disturbed her, or bothered her, we were told, “No, I never hear you guys.”

Any time she was rude to us, which was frequently, we took it on the chin and just went upstairs. Throughout ten months of incessant barking, we said nothing. Her girlfriend practically lived here, contributed nothing, but again, we said nothing. Why? Because we honestly liked these two people, we thought we were friends. But now I see we were just being taken advantage of.

Even though we did ALL the cleaning inside and outside (except lawn, that was the roommate’s only job), we said nothing because we wanted to live in a clean home whether she pitched an effort or not. We are not dirtbags.

The backyard is piled up with items that don’t belong to us. A bio composter of some kind, prior tenant. A wooden flower bed, prior tenant. Coffee table, roommate, stool, prior tenant, wagon, roommate. Pallets, roommate.  You get the drift.

We have spent the better part of 10 months living in a room together. The couple of times we attempted to use the living room (after we cleaned downstairs for hours) we were kicked out and ended up retreating to our bedroom.

We have felt disrespected THE ENTIRE time we have lived here. It’s not a good feeling. Again, we never involved the landlord because this was not a long term solution for us, and you DON’T INVOLVE LANDLORDS IN ROOMMATE DISPUTES in Halifax.

I’m going to have to schedule an appointment with my doctor because I’m having difficulty coping with all the stress this has brought on. I’m in menopause and I suffer from PTSD and Fibromyalgia, so that means I go from angry to crying in a flash. A hot flash. yuk yuk.

One thing I do to cope is clean, but this place is sparkling and I have run out of things to clean now.  I have begun packing, in case we are tossed out on to the street after our hearing.

Who needs this shit? Honestly.

I feel like I’ve been bullied my entire life, but none more than being a grown, disabled woman.  From constantly having to prove my disabilities, to narcissistic abuse from family and a few friends. I have taken so much shit from so many people over the years, that I have finally reached full. The shit runneth over.

I just want to lie on a beach with a book and forget all this ever happened. Including moving to Halifax.

To address our need for immediate housing, we have started a Go Fund Me to assist with moving costs, utility hookups, damage deposit etc. If you are able to donate, it would be greatly appreciated, if not, a simple share or prayer helps. Thank you so much for your kindness. I really appreciate my online friends and the blogging community.

 

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

S.

 

Image Credit

http://www.clker.com/clipart-634242.html

Facing Homelessness

Well, this has been one hell of a week let me tell you. In the last two weeks, our amicable roommate situation turned sour. We were are getting along just fine. Until the mange chihuahua.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE DOGS. I love cats, birds, fish, rabbits, guinea pigs, pygmy goats, you get the picture. I love animals. The issue was that we were already allergic to the existing chihuahua that lives here, Annie. Annie barks incessantly, all day, every day. it’s something we’ve learned to live with simply because she was here before us. I also have a dog. A miniature dachshund named Lucy. Lucy is wire/long hair. I have to cut her hair regularly. She is, for the most part, hypoallergenic.

The roommate sends us a message one day on our shared group chat explaining that she will be adopting this dog. Another barking chihuahua with mange mind you, not housebroken or vaccinated from the Dominican Republic (because apparently, Halifax dogs aren’t good enough). We said no. She kept picking at us, demanding we “chat about it”, which was basically her railroading us into accepting this dog. And if we didn’t accept this dog, we were told that her girlfriend would gladly take over our lease if that helps. HOW WOULD THAT HELP? We are in a lease until November. Housing in the city of Halifax is absolutely DIRE because of rent hikes and the increase of Air BnB’s swallowing up all the good rental opportunities.

She wouldn’t listen to us. She kept pushing. we kept saying no. So the roommate thought it would be a fantastic idea to contact the landlord, tell them we were fighting with her, threatening her (???). The landlords’ response: EVICTION for ALL of us.

We have a hearing scheduled for July 20th, although the landlords want us out by June 28th, which they cannot do because they themselves have applied for a hearing. I have verified this with the appropriate authorities.

In what world can two good tenants, (we pay our rent on time, we keep the home and property immaculate), get evicted because of a lie told by one person? This person has been caught lying so frequently, that I’m thinking she must have some kind of disorder. All the times we asked if we bothered her, disturbed her, we were told: “No, I never hear you guys.” But then tells the landlord we were disruptive. Again.. ????? The only thing disruptive in this house is Annie, the chihuahua mix.

So now we’re caught up in a legal battle as well as trying to find housing. Did I mention how FEW apartments in Halifax allow dogs?

My wife has been under immense pressure at work and literally feels like she’s being pushed out of a job, now we’re being pushed out of our home because our Adult Baby of a roommate pitched a fit for not getting her way.

I cannot express the amount of stress this has placed on us. We don’t have the money to move, can’t find an apartment, we can’t eat, can’t sleep. I have fibromyalgia, (ME/CFS) severe osteoarthritis, and PTSD. This is pushing me over the edge with stress. Unnecessary stress. We need prayers.

In the meantime, I have started up a Go Fund Me to help with moving costs and a new place to live. If you are able to donate, it would be greatly appreciated. I don’t know what else to do at the moment.

https://www.gofundme.com/ckrtcr-immediate-housing-needed

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Be Kind to One Another.

S.

Step Out & Step Up

..can’t sleep

Well, hello old friends.  It’s been a while since I’ve logged in and touched base.  I have been working harder than I have in years, hence my absence.  Between the radio show I host with my partner 5 days a week, I have also added a Saturday radio show to the roster that I host alone.  I’m broadcasting 6 days a week.

“C” has begun a new job in another city.  We will be leaving Saint John New Brunswick.  I am currently staying in Halifax, Nova Scotia- where I’m from.  The city has changed a lot in the three years I was gone.  Some areas I barely recognize due to gentrification.  Thanks Hipsters for driving up rental costs in the city.  Much appreciated.  I have some questions though.  How many micro breweries does one city need?  What’s the big deal with craft beer and Hipsters anyway?  Why the man-bun?  I’m just gonna say it… Craft beer= glass of farts.  There I said it.  You’re all thinking it but I said it.  “C” and I are frantically searching for a suitable rental.  I say frantically because ALL the apartments have been taken by students.  Damn university town.  Guess we know who’s really drinking all that extra gassy craft beer.

On another front, I have somewhat kicked up my medical cannabis activism game.  I’m a newbie; no where near as experienced as many of my peers, but I see injustice.  I hate injustice.  I see people suffering with a plethora of illness ranging from chronic to terminal flailing around a medical system hell bent on prescribing this and that only to manage symptoms, never addressing the cause.  Pharmaceutical tyranny I call it.  I see a void in our current system and I feel like I have just as good of a voice as anyone else.  I have partaken in a video that’s going viral, standing with other patients addressing how invaluable dispensaries are to us.  I have also given an interview with a local paper- it just came out today.  Change doesn’t happen without fight; without discord.  I am stepping out of my comfort zone and stepping up.  I think more of us need to do this in our everyday lives.  Step out, step up.  A little tip?  We won’t die nor break as a result of stepping out of our comfort zones.  As a society, we have become complacent much to our detriment.  We allow ourselves to be distracted by things that don’t affect us, don’t matter or don’t serve us, and when it’s suggested we put forth an effort, suddenly, many people simply “don’t have the time”.  It’s true that there are many demanding professions and careers out there, but let’s be honest; you have time, you just couldn’t be bothered and you’re not a cardiovascular surgeon.

“Leave it for someone else”

“So and So will take care of it”

“Surely the government will step in”

No.  These are incorrect statements, and they stink of naivete.

Your government doesn’t care about you.  You know why?  Because democracy is a misconstrued notion.  It’s a dead sentiment.  Countries are run by corporations.  Money and lobby groups dictate policy and laws.  The FDA?  A laughable organization.  It’s about who can contribute how many dollars.  It’s bullshit studies done by the very same drug companies trying to patent their poisons medicines.  “Surely there are drug trials and tests” you might retort.  Yeah there are.  Two.  Two tests.  Often performed by the drug companies’ own teams.  That’s not biased at all.  You know what else happens in government?  Nepotism.  Look at how many Trumps are fucking up running the White House.  Here in  Halifax, Nova Scotia, the city police chief is our Premiere’s brother.  You can’t make this shit up folks.

Two days ago, my best friend’s dispensary was robbed in broad daylight by police raided.  A lot of people are left without medication now and two people who volunteer their time to help other patients, one- a single mother of three- are now facing charges and court appearances.  Is this necessary?  Is this fair?  This friend  has given me medication at no cost many times so that I am not sick, so that I can function at a reasonable level and enjoy a reasonable quality of life.  (It’s not illegal to give or trade cannabis among patients- just an FYI) Do you know how grateful I am?  This friend has given medication and has offered a compassionate ear to virtually anyone truly in need.  There are thousands of patients that rely on Higher Living Wellness Centre.  Thousands of people have been made to feel safe, welcome, listened to, and many have developed life long friendships, and enjoy a peaceful sense of community with other like minded individuals.  We harm no one.  We bother no one.  We have medical prescriptions for cannabis.  No one is served without a prescription and ID.  The patients they serve range in ages all over the board and the cases range from things like cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, to Fibromyalgia, to rheumatoid arthritis, to PTSD and other painful life altering conditions.  Conditions that many doctors simply give up on.  It becomes a game of “let’s try this” “let’s increase that” ” I heard good things about this drug”  Doctors are in the game of symptom management.  Although here in Canada, doctors can’t accept “kickbacks” they CAN accept training in places like the Bahamas for 2 weeks or a nice golfing vacation.  Doctors are still bought here in Canada, they just accept a different currency.

For many of us, we have come to rely on communities like this.  Let’s not forget, the fast approaching legalization debacle was built on the backs of compassion clubs and dispensaries just like Higher Living Wellness.  It’s infuriating to me that the people with all the knowledge, the care and understanding of this plant; this GOD GIVEN plant are being locked out of an entire industry.  It’s infuriating to me that the government thinks it’s OK for a stage 4 breast cancer patient to get in line at the liquor store behind two twenty year olds looking to enhance their bar game that night.  It’s infuriating to me to tell someone dying of cancer that he has to log in on a computer with a credit card to a faceless entity for his legal medicine?  There’s no one you can ACTUALLY speak with when dealing with LPs.  It’s all email.  There no recommendations, there’s no teaching moments between an LP and a patient.  This is access for sick people??  Are you joking?  This must be a joke.  No one really treats the ill like this do they?  They do in Canada.  They do in Halifax Nova Scotia.  The Nova Scotia government doesn’t care about us, they don’t care about you.  I have already lost faith in doctors, I have since lost faith in my government, I have now lost faith in the police.  It’s become clear to us that we are nothing in their eyes.

We can’t have that.  I can’t have that.  I cannot foresee a future where all my rights have been stripped and I am forced to live a bed bound isolated life again and not have at the very least TRIED to fight back.

I have always been a fighter, I will always be a fighter.

Maybe cannabis is not your fight, that’s fine.  But I bet there’s something you need to be fighting for.  Don’t let your hesitation fester in to a life long regret.  Don’t be caught off guard and steamrolled; governments are notorious for silently removing rights while you’re playing Candy Crush or taking the latest Facebook quiz.  Take action.  There is SO MUCH wrong in this world right now, pick your battle and fight for it.  Fight with everything you have.

Step out, step up.

HLWC shirt

Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,

Sam

Halifax Hauntings…

creepy girlYesterday I wrote about a creepy encounter I had at home.   A Ghost Sat on Me .  It received such a good response I thought I’d regale you with another haunted tale.

The year was 2006, it was fall and I was living on Tobin Street in Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia.  I had fallen asleep reading a book.  I woke up around 3 am and saw something.  To my right, in the small space between my bed and the wall my window was on, stood a little girl.  She looked to be between the ages of 6 and 8.  She had long stringy, dirty wet looking hair that clung to her dirty white nightgown.  She looked like she had been in a fire as she appeared charred with scars on one side of her face.

I was in shock.  Thinking surely I was just dreaming I was seeing this, I quickly pinched my arm while looking at her.  Ouch!  She was still there.  I reached out my right arm to touch her.  Her eyes met mine as she shook her head No.   It took me a second to get it out, but I screamed and she disappeared.  I told my roommate about it the following day.

Halifax Explosion
Chronicle Herald Headline

A big History nerd, I hit the archives to find out more about where I lived.  I discovered that during the Halifax Explosion, the land where my apartment building now stood once serviced military officials that helped in the search and recovery of bodies after the explosion.

I believe that little girl was a victim in that explosion.  her nightgown was the old cotton style they wore in the early 1900s.  They may have brought her back to the station where she most likely died.  I’m not sure why she reached out to me, maybe I seemed friendly, maybe she liked my cat at the edge of the bed.  At the time, I was obviously frightened but now, I feel honored that she felt safe enough with me to show herself to me.

Halifax Explosion
Halifax Explosion Aftermath

I also lived in one of 3 high rises that border Barrington Street in downtown Halifax.  That was directly in the original blast zone of the 1917 explosion that leveled parts of Halifax.  That apartment unnerved me.  It was common for the bathroom light to turn itself on and the bathroom faucet to start running in the middle of the night.  Another curious thing that frequently occurred was one of our cats, (Kaizer) would hop up on the key table in our front entrance and sit there with his tail swinging while he chirped at the ceiling.  He did this every night.  I never felt comfortable in the living room or bedroom.  We hung out in the spare room which was converted in to a record/bar room.  I couldn’t wait to leave that place.  I was there less than a year.

 

Do you have any ghost stories?

 

Live Humbly, Be Scared, Live Cautiously,

Sam

 

Images

Creepy Little Girl  https://www.pinterest.ca/tonysnguyen/alice/?lp=true

Halifax Explosion  http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/halifax-explosion/

Halifax headline  http://www.redcross.ca/history/artifacts/halifax-explosion—halifax-herald-front-page