Stewiacke family homeless after apartment flood
Mother desperate for help to find her teens a safe home
A single mother in Stewiacke, N.S., says a flood has left her out of a home, out of pocket, and her teenaged children are out of school.
Elizabeth Buckoski and her two kids went to bed warm and dry Saturday night, but woke to a domestic disaster. Buckoski's daughter made the discovery.
"She got up to use the bathroom and said 'Mom, get up mom. There's a flood. Mom, get up.' I got up and my feet went into water, it was about four or five inches," Buckoski said.
Brown water was flowing up from the bathtub and toilet. Sludge covered the floors. The basement apartment is now unlivable.
Buckowski said the landlord told the family they can't return.
What's left of her belongings is in a moving van.
"All that stuff in those bags is all my belongings. That's not garbage, that's mine. There's books, there's baby pictures, there's projects she's done I've saved. That's all gone," she said.
Buckoski said this isn't about a lack of insurance and her ability to replace lost items. She said she's distraught that she can't find a home for her children.
"I want to find a home that's safe and clean if I'm going to rent it from someone."
The landlord suggested the family go to a hotel but Buckoski said she can't afford it. The hunt for a new apartment isn't going well.
"There's not much out there," said Buckoski's daughter, 18 year-old Kayla Chapados. "The place we have gone to visit are the same thing. They smell, there's mould, the people before have completely trashed it."
The family is staying with a relative in Fall River and both teenagers are missing school. Buckowski is a traffic control worker on a construction crew, and her early shifts mean she can't drive them to class.
"I want to go back tomorrow or the next day," Chapados said. But she said there's no easy solution to get to her and her 16 year-old brother school.
Chapados also said it's difficult to see her mother so upset.
"Whenever I see her cry I start crying. It bothers me a lot."
Buckoski said she just needs help.
"MLAs, Social Assistance, Red Cross. This is Tuesday. This happened Sunday. Look at me and my kids, where we are. It's not right. It's not right," she said.
According to Dalhousie Legal Aid, a landlord has no duty to take care of a tenant in a situation such as this.