Welcome to part two of the Strathmore Housing Crisis series. This mini-series documents several stories told by Strathmore and area community members detailing many aspects and perspectives around Strathmore and area's current housing situation.
Part one detailed some community members' struggles finding housing, forcing them to live in trailers and tents. However, not all people living in trailers have been forced into the situation.
Rebecca Stone, like several other Wheatland County residents, has been living in a trailer after selling her house one year ago. However, what separates her from some others is that she is quite happy with her situation. She explained she sold her house at the peak of the housing market in 2022, because she didn't want to be saddled with the rising mortgage rates. Her initial plan was to look for rental units, but she said the lack of availability and price drove her away from renting.
"I may as well have a mortgage at the cost of what it (rental units) was, and especially for the value of what was being offered. I wanted the opportunity to lower my monthly expenses down to a place where I could really be able to sock away more money for my next down payment or into my lifestyle or my retirement, and also have a place of my own that I could enjoy and live in and make my own," she explained.
"Looking out at the rental market as it is, I don't like what's out there, it's not appealing at all, so this was the best choice for this particular moment in time in my life."
Stone said she's actually been planning this move for years, as other factors besides rent drove her to find ways to save money; with the general economic struggles that are still lingering due to COVID and the hit small business owners like Stone took during the pandemic, she said, "This was the best way for me to go about doing that (saving money) and creating a lifestyle I could afford and enjoy."
"I do travel a fair bit and it allows me the ability to come and go at will and because I can lock up. I've learned how to survive Canadian winters, and I know how doable it is, so I'm very happy with my position and I intend to be here for at least one more year. After that, I plan to enter back into the housing market as interest rates lower and it becomes a better market to do so."
Because this was always part of Stone's plan, she explained she's been able to outfit her trailer with everything she needs, including Starlink internet, water access due to a well nearby, electricity, and more.
Even though Stone is comfortable in her situation and it's all been part of a years-long plan, she wanted to acknowledge the difficulties others are facing and that she was just fortunate enough to have a good situation work out for her. While trailer living is great for her, she didn't want to downplay the difficulties others are facing, as unlike Stone, many people didn't have the choice to live in a trailer instead of a rental property or house.
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