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Port Moody co-op set to evict 23-year-old who just lost his mom

Young man told he has to leave the two-bedroom home he grew up in and re-apply for a one bedroom unit — leaving him homeless.
Port Moody Co-op housing crisis
Taylor Voloshinski, whose mom recently died, has to move out of the Port Moody co-op he grew up in.

A Port Moody man is losing his home of more than two decades due to strict rules about co-op membership.

Taylor Voloshinski grew up in the Mountain View Co-op in a two-bedroom affordable housing unit he shared with his mom, Leanne.

But when his mom died suddenly in December, the 23-year-old was told he had four months to pack up his things and leave because he didn't have joint membership.

The co-op has informed Voloshinski via a letter that he must move out by noon on Saturday (April 30).

"I've never lived anywhere else," says the Port Moody Secondary graduate, who has no family to whom he can turn.

"I'm not breaking any rules. I've not done anything wrong. It's just that, 'Your mom's dead and you're not on the paper work, so get out.'"

Fortunately, Voloshinski, who does kitchen duties at a Port Moody youth recreational summer camp and is applying for other jobs, is able to turn to his late mother's friends for advice.

While they can't provide accommodation for him, they are advocating to have him stay at the co-op until he can get is life together.

"He could be homeless in about a week," said Lorrie Lacey, who told the Tri-City News she sympathizes with the young man who is still grieving his mother's death while trying to sort out his living situation.

"What he needs, he needs to be able to help himself," said Lacey, who said Voloshinski needs stable housing to get his life on track and staying in his family home can provide that for him.

"As friends we are fighting to have him remain there as this is the only place he can afford and his home. As you know, the cost of rent and availability of housing is a challenge."

Stuck in a housing crisis

The Tri-Cities has some of the most expensive rental housing in Metro Vancouver.

Voloshinski says basement suites costing between $1,500 and $2,000 are beyond his reach, but he can afford the $825-a-month rent for the two-bedroom suite with his current earnings, including income assistance.

He would like to stay in the unit until he can move into a smaller one-bedroom suite in the co-op located on Clarke Road — right on the border with Coquitlam.

"I want to be treated like a normal person would; I want to pay rent and go on from there."

But because he doesn't have joint membership in the unit, he has no legal standing, and even the co-op shares his mom paid to become a member must be transferred to her estate.

The Tri-City News has reached out to the co-op board for information about Voloshinski's situation, but has not heard back as of this publication (April 27).

According to the province, housing co-ops make their own rules regarding membership and joint membership, which lay out the duties and responsibilities of co-op members.

Fearing homelessness

In the case of Mountain View, a decision to create joint memberships was approved in 2017.

However, the board has no record of Leanne adding her son as a member.

Voloshinski was 18 years old and a minor when the joint membership was offered to his mom.

"He was too young and when he did reach legal age it wasn’t something she thought about, none of us plan to expire in the night," Lacey said.

Sadly, Leanne died of an overdose. Her son thought her death was caused by COVID-19 at first.

"Once I knew it was an overdose, I put a period on that," said Voloshinski, who says he hasn't been able to properly grieve his mother's death while dealing with his housing situation.

He claims he hasn't been getting the answers he's seeking and is being denied membership now because he's an adult and the co-op doesn't want families to hand off units to their progeny.

But the co-op maintains it has rules in place that must be adhered to and Voloshinski needs to vacate the unit and properly apply for membership.

"Subject to these rules, eligibility for membership in the Co-operative is open in a non-discriminatory manner to individuals who are able to fulfill the responsibilities and conditions of membership," a letter to Voloshinski states.

But the young man is worried about finding accommodation while also trying to improve his employment situation.

"It's not very good on my sanity, I'm not sleeping or eating...They are essentially sending me to a bench."