A Windsor family is facing the stark possibility of homelessness at the end of the month, as their search for a place to live becomes increasingly desperate.
Jennifer and Daniel Adeogun have been looking for a place to live ever since their apartment building went up in flames on Halloween. An electrical wire failure on a third floor balcony caused $1.5 million in damage and displaced nearly 100 tenants, including the Adeoguns.
Property management told them the building will reopen within six months to a year, and advised tenants to look for a month-to-month rental in the meantime, but the task has been proven difficult.
"Everybody wants us to sign a one-year lease. So, that's a very big challenge," said Jennifer.
In October, Windsor's housing market was the hottest in Canada, with home sale prices up 17 per cent in the third quarter. Rent has increased in turn, say relators.
"Where we find the places, like just say for month-to-month, places are like $2,600 a month," said Jennifer.
"We're practically days from being homeless by the end of this month," Daniel said. "Even if you tell them the story, they don't seem to be sympathetic to that. You know, they just want that one-year lease signed."
The couple, who are both personal support workers, say of the places they have found that offer month-to-month rentals, the cost is either too high, or aren't suitable for their children, who are 14 and 12 and sometimes spend time alone at home.
Help from colleagues
Until now, the Adeoguns had been staying with relatives. That's no longer an option; before the apartment fire, the relative gave notice that they'd be moving out at the end of November. Now, they're looking at moving into a motel for a few days or weeks until a suitable short-term rental becomes available.
Katie Dennison, Jennifer's direct supervisor at Oak Park LaSalle Retirement Residence, set up a GoFundMe page for the family to help pay for moving costs and storage of their belongings.
"We want to take care of all of our employees and we're all like a second family here," she said. "[Jennifer] is so great with her residents and she just gives them her all. And she comes to work every day and she's a hard worker. So I think just coming together to help out one of our own family is just so important."
She's hoping to raise $5,000 and is nearly halfway there.
Dennison says most of the donations are from staff from the couple's workplaces, but she is "pretty impressed" with how far it's gone.
"Just seeing everyone coming together and giving donations is pretty remarkable."
The Adeoguns say they feel "beat down" and "overwhelmed" with the whole process, despite the help they've been getting from their workplaces.
'We want to go back'
They say they work full-time and try to hide their struggle searching for a place to live from their children; they are dealing with enough with school during a pandemic, said Daniel.
"How do you tell kids that you're homeless?" Daniel said, adding that normally during this time, the family would be decorating and getting ready for Christmas, but are now left wondering where they're going to live next,
"We want to go back to where we lived. That's where our whole life is," he said.