The Black Building Eviction: One Person’s Story

Tomorrow night, council will consider an information report about the planned demolition of 1755 Hamilton Street, aka the Black Building. It’s an apartment building downtown that has up until now provided affordable rental housing to 46 households. I’ll write more about this in another post, but suffice to say, council has been advised that there is nothing that can be done to halt the demolition.

Even if there was, the eviction of the Black Building’s tenants has already caused considerable hardship. And one of the people displaced, Bev Kowbel, will be addressing council tomorrow and her story is worth reading. You can download it along with all the other submissions on the city’s website. To save you the download, I’ve copied it below.

And, if this story makes you as pissed off about the disastrous state of rental housing in Regina as I am, a great way to focus your anger would be to head out to council tomorrow night (5:30pm). Ms Kowbel and all the other people who’re being left out in the cold by this housing crisis can use our support. And, seeing as this is an election year, council needs to know that people are taking notice of what they’ve done — and not done — on the housing file.

* * * * *

I lived at 1755 Hamilton Street until eight days ago. Thanks to Alaina at Carmichael Outreach, I finally found another place to live.

There is almost no affordable housing in Regina. When I got my eviction notice in October, I immediately started looking for a new apartment. Most of the place I found, I couldn’t afford. When I did find something affordable, either the place was full of mold or I lost out to another applicant. There were always so many people wanting the same apartment.

Since 2006, I’ve moved at least 4 times. Every time I got settled, something happened. The landlord raised the rent and I was no longer able to afford the apartment. Or my apartment was converted into a condo. Now the block I was living in is going to be demolished.

Every time I have to move, it costs me a lot of money. This time, I had to pay movers $210. I also had to pay power and cable hook-up fees. With so many moves, I am never able to get ahead.

This situation has made me ill. My body is covered with a rash and I feel nauseous all the time.

I’m not the only one suffering. Lots of people on Assistance are couch-surfing. They can’t find housing on their shelter allowance. Also, some landlords discriminate against people on Assistance.

Landlords have too much power. They can raise the rent as much as they want. They advertise apartments that are filled with mold. Renters are so desperate they take the apartments. Landlords also demand a hefty damage deposit up front, as well as a month’s rent before they will rent you an apartment. Many renters can’t come up with that much money.

Landlords also have unreasonable rules. Some don’t allow over-night guests. I had a landlord who wouldn’t allow my teenage son even to visit. Other landlords don’t allow pets. One I phoned didn’t even allow goldfish.

I’ve been hearing about a new stadium for the past few years, while I’ve been struggling with housing. Why is there money for a new stadium and not for affordable housing?

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

4 thoughts on “The Black Building Eviction: One Person’s Story”

  1. A good question to ask. It’s been asked before, more than once in cities and towns from one end of Canada to the other, and it deserves a civil answer.

  2. This and so many stories like it disgust me beyond belief. Too many people at City Hall are benefitting financially from the housing crunch for them to be interested in doing anything about it. Sad.

Comments are closed.