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 Penticton family on the brink of homelessness

Housing crisis something many in the city 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 an 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, 10, 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. “We have long believed in paying it forward,” 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

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

(Black Press file photo)
EDITORIAL: Curtailing attempts at scams

The true total of losses from all scams and frauds could be much higher than the figures on file

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

(Drive BC photo)
Vehicle incident closes Highway 3 east of Osoyoos

Drive BC says to avoid the area until the road is clear

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

Chef Murray McDonald was at home and ready to doze off to sleep when he got a text from his wife

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

A home on Cameo Drive sustained major damage due to an early morning fire Monday, June 21. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
UPDATE: Fire sparked during Vernon home renovation

Heavy black smoke from Cameo Drive home, no one inside

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Most Read