Editor’s note: The following is one of the letters from students in teacher Jennifer Mansour’s class at Learning Expeditions.
As we all know, housing in Squamish is very expensive. As a teenager myself, this worries me because when I move out into my own house, I will most likely have to move out of town.
This is also affecting the small businesses in Squamish, because people can’t afford to live in Squamish and have a minimum wage job. For example, if I worked 40 hours a week on minimum wage, which is $11.35, I would make at the most $1,500 a month, which is not that much considering the average to rent a one bedroom apartment in Squamish is $1,200. That would leave me with about $300 for other bills like groceries, phone bills, and saving up for a down payment to buy a house.
This is not just a problem for people who are trying to buy or rent a house in Squamish, but also the people who have lived here for a long time, and are being offered to sell their houses for the buyers to take the land and build more over-priced townhouses. This also affects renters whose landlords are taking up these offers to sell. The costly housing makes a lot of Squamish residents consider shared-living spaces.
There are programs run by Sea to Sky Community Services that provide affordable living; for example, at Riverstones, Castle Rock and Centrepoint. Although these are good options, there is not enough availability in the locations that they have, and will often take a long time to get a home in these programs.