Three residents were evicted from the modular housing complex on Royal Crescent in Maple Ridge on Monday afternoon.
The residents say they were surprised by sheriffs at their doors at noon on July 27 at the supportive complex run by Coast Mental Health.
“The staff never told us they were going to evict us today. I never got a notice on my door, no verbal notice, nothing,” said Eva Bardonnex.
“Today is the anniversary of my daughter’s passing. I don’t know why they’re doing this today,” she added. “I don’t even have a tent. I don’t have anywhere to go. I don’t have anywhere to store my belongings.”
Ivan Drury of the Red Braid Alliance called the evictions “immoral and wrong,” in the middle of a pandemic, but noted they are not illegal.
The homeless advocate said the two women and one man who were evicted had their possessions stacked by the side of the street. They had no place to go, and his information was that they were couch surfing at the present time.
That was counter to a prior agreement that staff would help the residents find housing if they were evicted.
“What made it so urgent to make three people homeless?” asked Drury, noting that the two women are especially vulnerable.
“They made them both unsafe.”
Bardonnex barricaded herself in her room, and sheriffs broke in, she said.
“The staff was helping them kick the door in. I was yelling at them to get the manager. And then a sheriff climbed in through my window and started throwing my stuff around, breaking things, throwing my stuff out the window,” said Bardonnex.
“I’ve got nowhere to go. I don’t have anywhere to go. All my things are on the sidewalk.”
“The climate of this eviction was like a siege,” said Drury.
Darrell Burnham, CEO of Coast, said the eviction notices dated back to December and February. The residents then appealed through the Residential Tenancy Branch and the evictions were upheld.
The trio refused to leave, he said, and were finally put out of the building on Monday when sheriffs arrived. The process had been delayed by COVID-19 regulations, he said.
As you may have heard, 3 tenants were removed from a low barrier facility in Maple Ridge as part of a court order issued on July 13. Prior to this event, every effort was made by community health teams to connect these individual to suitable housing and health care supports.
— Coast Mental Health (@CoastMH) July 28, 2020
“This has been a six-month issue.”
Burnham said the evictions came about over serious breaches of their tenancy that compromised the safety of other residents and/or resulted in damage to the facility.
“Guests can be a problem, and as a tenant you are responsible for your guests,” he said. “But a one-time issue would never get someone evicted.
“Eviction is not something we take lightly. It’s an awful situation to put anyone in,” said Burnham. “It’s really unfortunate – we’re in the job of housing people.”
Bardonnex and Red Braid are calling for the province to cancel all evictions. This demand is made especially urgent because of the end of the BC government’s moratorium on evictions, said Drury. That ended at the end of June for all evictions besides those for non-payment of rent.
On Sept. 1 the ban on evictions for non-payment of rent will end. Drury said Red Braid estimates 10 per cent of renters in the province are behind on payments because of the pandemic.
“We anticipate a more serious wave of evictions,” said Drury.