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Seeking shelter in a storm

Housing search more competitive this year during flurry of job fairs

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“Everyone thinks that this is somebody else’s problem, but it’s not — it’s everyone’s problem,” Forsyth said.

“… It is the issue in the resort — there’s nothing more important than this.”

The WHA’s Nesters Pond building is also still out of commission from flooding earlier this year, which means many residents of the 37-unit building are still displaced. Though the WHA had planned to have the building ready by the fall, repairs were more extensive than anticipated, and they now hope work will be complete by the end of the year, which should open up more beds at that time.

General manager Marla Zucht says the WHA’s focus has always been on developing long-term resident-restricted housing, which helps ease the strain on the private rental situation.

“When a tenant or an owner moves into one of our units, it opens up an opportunity for seasonal housing,” she explained.

This year, their weekly tracking of rental units shows there are fewer available than in previous years. Zucht says it is similar to the housing situation they faced in the winter of 2002.

They have also been trying to help with the seasonal housing shortage with new initiatives, like the H.O.M.E. program and Accommodation Seeker. Accommodation Seeker, which was launched about a month ago, is an online service that allows people in need of accommodation to post a personal profile and list the type of accommodation they are seeking.

While she hasn’t heard of any success stories yet, Zucht says the service has been attracting quite a bit of traffic.

Zucht says the WHA receives many calls from people scrambling for housing, and recommends scouring local classifieds and WHA’s website listings, and using word-of-mouth.

“Quite often, the better accommodations may not hit the paper, so when you’re in the pubs or the bookstore or the library, you know, just talk to people.”

In the long-term, Zucht points out that they will have 55 units in the athletes’ village after the 2010 Olympics, some of which will be smaller units that target a specific demographic.

But in the short-term, they’re still looking for solutions.

“We’re looking at some other opportunities for some temporary accommodations, as well, to put onto some existing sites.”

WB’s Good says they have 1,231 beds in staff accommodation, and this year, they have made some very simple changes to the way House is run this year. First, they changed their website to ensure people enroll for the job fair before applying for staff housing.