Zora Hlevnjak no longer faces eviction after an unidentified source has covered her outstanding rent. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

A 76-year-old Sidney woman, who collects cans to supplement her pension, no longer faces eviction.

Kerry Readshaw, communications director for Beacon Community Services, said Zora Hlevnjak no longer faces eviction after the organization received payment.

“I can say that we have received payment for the back rent, and that it is not appropriate for me to go into any more detail for that,” she said, when asked earlier about the source of the money, as well as the size of the outstanding back rent. “As well, we’re satisfied arrangements have now been made for payment of future rent in accordance with BC Housing rules with some private support, provided in a manner that is consistent with BC Housing regulations.”

Readshaw could not disclose the amount Hlevnjak will be paying going forward, citing privacy reasons.

RELATED: Sidney woman facing eviction receives offers of help, but also questions about honesty

Hlevnjak faced eviction from subsidized housing after her failure to pay three month’s worth of back rent following a rent increase of more than $300 per month. In early January, she owed $1,087.

Her rent rose under the terms of subsidized housing that require tenants to pay 30 per cent of their income towards rent following submission of financial information.

“We didn’t raise the rent,” said Tim O’Brien, who manages Wakefield Manor, where Hlevnjak has been staying since 2004, earlier. “She just started to report her proper income.”

Two individuals — Dave Lloyd, owner of Victoria Drain Services based in Saanich, and Breanne Brown, a former North Saanich resident now living in Australia — had previously told the Peninsula News Review that they would be prepared to pay the woman’s outstanding rent.

RELATED: Sidney woman has launched petition to help senior facing eviction

Hlevnjak said she was aware of the reporting requirement and the 30 per cent threshold.

According to a background statement provided by the ministry of municipal affairs and housing, tenants in subsidized housing pay less than market rate for housing with the government funding the difference between what the tenants pay and the actual cost of operating the housing.

Hlevnjak initially refused to pay the outstanding rent, because she does not consider money receiving from collecting cans and personal donations income, a sentiment shared by many supporters who signed a petition in her support.

The petition reached more than 3,100 signatures Wednesday afternoon.

The ministry of municipal affairs and housing, however, does not make that distinction.

RELATED: Sidney woman refuses to pay back rent on income raised collecting empty cans

“To ensure equal treatment between tenants, all regular and ongoing sources of funds are treated as income,” the ministry said in its background material. “The funds are averaged out in case the additional income varies from month to month.”

The process of calculating the rent of every tenant in subsidized housing begins later this year in time for the fall, said Readshaw.

“Income is verified, and rent is adjusted up or down or stays the same as the case may be, reflecting each individual tenant’s circumstances for that November window,” she said.


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