Vikki and Don Holmberg with their three children Marshall, Ava and oldest Lexi who now lives on her own. The Penticton family is facing the prospect of homelessness after their rental home was sold, leading them to ask the community for help. (Contributed)

Vikki and Don Holmberg with their three children Marshall, Ava and oldest Lexi who now lives on her own. The Penticton family is facing the prospect of homelessness after their rental home was sold, leading them to ask the community for help. (Contributed)

‘There’s just nothing’: housing crunch puts Okanagan family on the brink of homelessness

Housing crisis something many in the Okanagan can likely relate to, says mother of three

A Penticton family is on the brink of homelessness after the home they were renting for nearly four years was sold.

Vikki Holmberg, her husband Don and their two youngest children Marshall and Ava have been living in an RV at Wright’s Beach Camp RV Park since the start of May when they were forced to leave their previous home.

But with summer approaching Holmberg and her family have only two months before they will be forced to leave the park, making their future uncertain.

The young family has found a house to rent in the future but it is currently under renovation and the date they will be able to move in is unknown. Holmberg fears they will have to leave the RV Park many months before their prospective rental home is ready to move in to.

That uncertainty coupled with Penticton’s tight rental market has led Holmberg to start a GoFundMe and reach out to the community via social media for help. She said it’s been a nearly impossible task to find an affordable rental in Penticton that’s suitable for her family.

READ MORE: Penticton has fewer places to rent and prices are higher than ever: CMHC report

Local social media groups for rental properties like Penticton and area house/apartment rentals paint a similar story; hordes of people posting that they are in desperate need of a place to rent with few actual listings for rental properties.

The comments sections of the few rental properties that are listed are usually quickly inundated with desperate renters trying to stand out among the crowd to secure a place to live. Holmberg said it can quickly become discouraging to learn countless people have applied for the same rental before her.

Penticton’s rental vacancy rate dropped to 1.0 percent in 2020 and average rental prices reached a new all-time high, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

For Holmberg, the rental crunch has caused her many sleepless nights. Some ask Holmberg why she doesn’t move somewhere else if she can’t find anywhere affordable in Penticton, but she says it’s just not that simple.

Her youngest daughter Ava, 7, has autism, and Holmberg worries about leaving behind the supports she has established for Ava in Penticton. She has also lived in Penticton for nearly her entire life, making it even more difficult to fathom leaving.

Right now, Holmberg is thankful for the help she received to able to stay in the RV at a discounted price. But once July comes, she worries the home undergoing renovations won’t ready and she will be unable to find anywhere else to go. “We decided to launch the GoFundMe in case we can’t find anything that’s in our price range,” she said.

Holmberg said she’s seen many other people in the community in similar situations. “Everybody here is just scrambling, people are selling their homes at an unprecedented rate and at the prices they’re going for it’s not a good investment for buyers to keep renting at the current rate,” she said. “There’s just too many renters and not enough units.”

With no parental support network from either her or her husband’s parents, Holmberg worries daily about what will happen if she is unable to find a place. Holmberg’s GoFundMe page can be found here.

READ MORE: Penticton sees rise in rent despite new units becoming available



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Housing crisisrental market

Just Posted

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans to hold a vigil on Friday, June 25 at 8 p.m. to honour the victims of what officials are calling a terrorist attack on five Muslims in London, Ont. (File photo)
Salmon Arm council holds minute of silence to honour victims of Ontario attack

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans vigil for Muslim family on June 25, 8 p.m. at McGuire Lake

A first-dose mobile vaccination clinic is being held on Tuesday, June 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Salmon Arm fairgrounds, west entrance across from spray park. (Interior Health image)
Location for Salmon Arm’s June 15 COVID-19 mobile vaccine clinic changes slightly

Immunization clinic still at fairgrounds but people attending asked to use different entrance

Felix Haase and Jayme Saretzky staff a pop-up booth to support the Salmon Arm Pride Project on the patio of the newly reopened Wild Craft Mercantile at 121 Shuswap St. on Saturday, June 12, 2021. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Wild Craft Mercantile in Salmon Arm holds grand reopening, celebrates Pride month

Store moves from Lakeshore to Shuswap, demonstrates support for Pride project

A City of Salmon Arm vacuum truck cleans out the city storm drain on Hudson Avenue in Salmon Arm Monday morning, June 14 after a crane truck blew a hydraulic line, spewing oil onto the road. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Fire trucks called to small oil spill in Salmon Arm

Traffic delayed on Hudson Avenue Monday morning after crane truck blows hydraulic line

Tim Gibson joined the Shuswap Children’s Association on June 14, 2021. He is taking over the executive director position as June Stewart is retiring on June 30, 2021. (File photo)
New executive director joins Shuswap Children’s Association

Outgoing executive director June Stewart to retire on June 30, 2021

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

In this Saturday, May 29, 2021, file photo, people crowd the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, Calif. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions will disappear Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
With COVID tamed, it’s a ‘grand reopening’ in California

No more state rules on social distancing, no more limits on capacity, no more mandatory masks

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bitten by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

Most Read