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A N.S. student’s desperate search for a new home as she faces eviction

A Nova Scotia post-secondary student is on a desperate search for an affordable place to live and is worried she’s on the edge of homelessness.

Jules Cutler has been looking for more than a year now. She’s been living at her current apartment since 2018 but was asked to move by her landlord in the fall of 2022 so that her son could take over the unit.

The request was supported in a recent decision by the Residential Tenancies Board, and Cutler has been ordered to move out by June 30.

“I was looking for an apartment on my own, and I realized it was very difficult,” Cutler said.

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“I couldn’t get any rentals to call me back or get in touch — or anything that was affordable was snatched up like that.”

As a student, Cutler is on a fixed income and estimates she can pay around $1,200 a month for an apartment.However, most of the ones she’s found are $1,500 to $1,800 a month.

She also has a disability that factors into her search, as well as pets.

“The main barriers I’m facing are money and disability. I do also want to stay close to school, partially because of the disability, but also because if I’m any further out of town I’m far from people that I love,” Cutler said.

Cutler says she doesn’t qualify for the province’s priority access housing and believes her only options now are to be homeless or to couch surf.

In a statement, the provincial housing agency said people need to be living in unsafe conditions or be homeless to qualify for priority housing. Even then, the waitlist can be up to 18 months.

As of Dec. 1, 2023, there were 151 households on that priority access waitlist for public housing.

Meanwhile, Cutler is at a loss as to what to do. “I’m not looking five years in the future or 10  years in the future. I’m looking four or five months in the future — just somewhere stable, somewhere to live.”

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