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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A group at risk : a case study of the rental housing experiences and coping strategies of single mothers in Kelowna earning above the government subsidy benchmark Sanbrooks, Lauren Victoria


The main objective of this study is to assess the barriers single mothers earning above the subsidy benchmark face when trying to locate affordable rental housing in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Particular attention is focused on the coping strategies these single mothers use when trying to locate affordable rental housing. Policy strategies for improving the housing experiences for single mothers earning above the government subsidy benchmark were proposed for the municipal, provincial and federal government. Data for this case study were gathered between July 2014 and September 2014, the collection of three questionnaires from single mothers was followed up by two semi-structured interviews and seven semi-structured interviews with key informants. Marxism and feminist perspectives influenced the theoretical framework for this study. This framework is used to examine the housing issues facing this vulnerable group of women and ultimately helps to shape a well-built, well-planned city. This study expands on existing literature concerning single mothers and housing in North America as well as reviews the literature on housing issues in Canadian mid-sized cities. Results from this study indicate that single mothers earning above the subsidy benchmark face many barriers when it comes to finding rental housing in Kelowna, including affordability, issues with landlords, and proximity to schools. Neighbourhood safety, which ultimately creates housing stability for children, can be a consequence of these barriers. Recommendations from this study suggest that further research needs to focus on the rental housing barriers of single mothers earning above the subsidy benchmark from a provincial or federal government planning perspective. Research should deal specifically with the Housing Income Limits at the provincial level. In addition, further research should be conducted on the possible implementation of a national housing policy in Canada. Without a national housing policy, there is no guarantee that an individual or a family will live in affordable housing in Canada. The creation of a national housing policy or national housing strategy could have a domino effect on changes being made to the provincial and municipal government levels in terms of rental housing. This case study adds to the existing literature by highlighting the importance of understanding the housing experiences of single mothers earning just above the subsidy benchmark in the mid-sized Canadian city of Kelowna, British Columbia.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada