A view of 13 Street SE in Slave Lake, Alta., on Thursday, June 16 2011. One month after wildfires destroyed one third of the town, people are starting to move forward but there is still a lot of work to do.
Credits: (AMBER BRACKEN/EDMONTON SUN QMI AGENCY)
EDMONTON - A Slave Lake evacuee fears she and her five-year-old grandson may be homeless by Monday because the provincial government will no longer pay for her short-term accommodations.
"Why should we get kicked out?" asked Yvonne Twin.
The 48-year-old said she has been staying in a hotel room with her young grandson, Tyler Decoine, because the province will no longer pay for short term accommodations.
Twin and her grandson have been staying in the hotel since her apartment was gutted by the wildfires that wiped subdivisions right off the town's map in May.
"They are giving all of the apartment spaces to essential workers, and people who are considered non-essential don't have a chance," she said.
After the Edmonton Sun ran Twin’s story online Saturday, a provincial official called to say Twin would be added to the essential worker’s list, meaning Alberta will continue to cover her housing tab.
Twin, who is an administrative support worker for WJS Canada -- an agency that contracts services with the province to provide help for families and children -- said she was told to move out on Saturday.
The province now says she'll be allowed to stay in the hotel until other arrangements are made.
Twin said she hopes to stay in Slave Lake while it all gets sorted.
"I have a job. I have a life here," she said. "I don't want to leave town."
Funding won't continue for everyone.
Dan Laville, a spokesman with Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs, confirmed many short-term stay programs that were being offered to evacuees by the province were "coming to an end."
But employers can still apply for interest-free loans from the province to help workers who have lost their homes stay in Slave Lake, Laville said.
There are also other forms of programs available to help people find short-term housing, but it won't be in Slave Lake.
Temporary housing programs are being made available to evacuees, but those spaces are only available in other communities -- as far away as Edmonton -- because housing in Slave Lake is so scarce, Laville said.
"We realize these are extraordinary circumstances and now we are just realizing there isn't a lot of spaces available for people right now," said Laville.
"This might not be the most ideal solution, but they do have somewhere to go."
Twin said she plans to contact her employer for help finding short-term living arrangements, but she does not want to leave town because she could lose her job.
Laville said 350 manufactured homes the town will provide for longer-term housing won't be available until the fall.