New Brunswick

Dieppe fire leaves family struggling to find housing

The Farah family moved to Dieppe about a year ago after living in Dubai. The Red Cross have provided a hotel room for temporary shelter while they find a new place to stay. But tomorrow is the last night the Red Cross will pay for. 

Rym Farah says apartment owners discriminate against people with children

More than 50 people are without a place to live after a fire at an apartment building on Gauvin Road in Dieppe. (Margaud Castadère-Ayçoberry/Radio-Canada)

A Dieppe family says finding affordable housing is a major challenge after a weekend fire destroyed their apartment building.

Rym Farah and her husband, Saber Boukari, have a young child and she is pregnant with their second child. They moved to Dieppe about a year ago after living in Dubai.

"It's so hard to find an apartment, especially if you have kids," said Farah. 

"I feel like we have some discrimination against families with kids. ... Go on any website and you check, they just, they said adult only, kids not allowed."

A late-night fire on Saturday heavily damaged a 40-unit apartment building on Gauvin Road. (Submitted by Wade Perry)

The Red Cross provided temporary shelter in hotel rooms after more than 50 people were displaced by the fire, but Farah and her family need a permanent solution. Farah said they will likely stay with friends until they are able to find an affordable apartment.  

She said she's grateful for the assistance from the Red Cross, but she was hoping for more help from the owners of the building where she and her family lived.

Farah said she feels "abandoned" because she was told by the apartment owners they can do nothing to help her family find a new lodging.

Rent Moncton owns the building on Gauvin Road. 

Zack Holmden, the company's operations manager, said he understands the low vacancy rate in Greater Moncton is a challenge for the dozens of tenants who now need a new place to live.

 
Zack Holmden, the company's operations manager, said he understands the low vacancy rate in Greater Moncton is a challenge for the dozens of tenants who now need a new place to live. (Submitted by Zack Holmden)

"We can't help as much as we'd like to," he said. "We have very few vacancies and we basically had half of the tenants ask for other rentals and we're pretty much at a zero per cent vacancy rate.

"So It's very tough because we feel so bad for these people and we want to put them in homes. It's just we don't have anything available."

Holmden also agreed that families with children can struggle to find a place that will accept them.

"Oftentimes the tenant below will complain and then they threaten to move out and then they almost get upset with us that we're allowing children in here. It's, it's almost like a stigma, really."

Holmden estimated it will be at least a year before the building is repaired and ready for tenants again.  

He said he was told the fire started in the attic but the cause has yet to be determined.

"The fire inspector said it could be something as simple as a mouse chewing a wire, or a freak accident really."

With files from Information Morning Moncton

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