Apartment shortage leaves renters scrambling
Some apartment hunters are spending months searching for accommodation in Thunder Bay because of a chronic shortage of rental space.
Sidney MacAlpine, 31, moved from Hamilton to Thunder Bay two years ago.
He said he and his fiancée have been searching without luck for a one-bedroom apartment for the past six months.
"Every place I call, they say, 'Oh, we'll just put you on an application' and there's like 40 people already on application. So it's impossible ..."
MacAlpine receives disability support payments from the province, a fact that he says places him near the bottom of the list. "Landlords aren't really encouraged to take people on welfare or ODSP."
MacAlpine is trying to get settled so he can finish his high school diploma.
"You get discouraged by the fact there's 30 or 40 people ahead of you," he said, noting the couple are willing to spend up to $800 a month for accommodation — if only they could find something.
For several months he's lived in a rooming house or stayed with his fiancée's grandfather.
He is currently renting a bedroom in April Jantunen's home.
She has six other tenants who share the single bathroom and kitchen facilities.
Jantunen says even a bedroom is in high demand in Thunder Bay.
"I have people coming daily and I have to turn them down because I have no more room," said Jantunen.
Councillor Iain Angus, chair of the Thunder Bay District Social Services Board, acknowledges that rental accommodation is in short supply. He said the board is getting $4.5 million from the province to build more affordable housing.