Help for a senior caregiver
Finding available resources
At 76 years old, Luz Lopez Dee can vouch for the impact that a rent bank loan can have— because those loans have kept the roof over her head, twice.
Luz was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She was in her 40s when she arrived in B.C. in 1989, accompanied by her husband, Henry, and their four children. “It was June 12, Independence Day in the Philippines,” she recalls. “On June 30, Henry had a seizure while he was in bed.”
Henry made a full recovery, but he experienced more seizures two years later. “We found out that he had a brain tumor,” Luz relates. “He recovered but his reflexes were altered. He couldn’t play tennis, his sport; he stopped exercising.”
In 2007, Luz was working at a store in a mall. “One morning before I went to work, I heard him talking in bed. I thought he was dreaming, but he was already having a stroke,” she says.
Since then Luz has been a full-time caretaker for Henry, who is bed bound and receives home-care support through Fraser Health for a few hours every day. They live in a one-bedroom Langley apartment.
Last year, Luz needed help to pay her $1,300 rent because Henry’s healthcare costs were higher than usual. From experience, she knew Sources Community Resource Centres, a non-profit serving Surrey, North Delta, White Rock and Langley, could help her with rent—and that they were fast. “They did it right away. They sent the rent directly to my landlord.”
But Luz first heard about the rent bank – at the food bank – about six years ago. She had missed responding to government-issued correspondence, triggering a halt in her Old Age Security (OAS) pension payment, leaving her without anticipated income for the month and, in turn, she was unable to make her rent in her subsidized housing unit in White Rock.
“I became afraid when my landlord said she would evict us if we didn’t pay rent that week. It was the first time that I wasn’t able to make rent.”
Today, Luz is inching closer to paying off her second interest-free loan by way of regular $58 monthly payments.
“I am a warrior, and I’m a very good resource finder,” she says.
She sure is.