Displaced residents hope to inspire change

Posted at 5:41 PM, May 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-26 19:50:55-04

Several families in Caldwell are currently looking for a new place to call home. They've been displaced due to circumstances out of their control.

Frustrated, they're now calling others to action with the hope of getting to the root of the problem.

Sonia Stoddard, her daughter, Marilyn, and 18-month-old grandson, Tyson, have been staying at a Caldwell home for nearly two months.

It's a communal type of set up where residents share the kitchen and bathroom.

Originally from Caldwell, the Stoddards moved back recently thinking Idaho was the best place to raise Tyson.

"We couldn't find housing in Portland," says Marilyn Stoddard, Tyson's mother. "We were there for three months and then we came back."

They secured the spot before hitting the road.

Sonia says it was a rate they could afford. She saw the opportunity as a temporary solution.

However, last week it came to city officials' attention that some of the makeshift units in the backyard were unfit to live in.

After further inspection, exposed wiring was found.

Ultimately, the building inspector and fire marshal have deemed the dwellings unsafe.

Having already paid up on rent, the Stoddards are cutting their losses.

"A lot of us have worked for many, many years here in Idaho for pennies, minimum wage," Sonia says.

They're also frustrated to find the only emergency housing option in Caldwell is for women who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  

"I'm really stressed trying to find somewhere to go to as soon as possible because everyone has to leave and I don't really have any options right now," Marilyn says.

Their names are now on a 3-month waiting list. In the meantime, they have plans to stay with friends.

Still, Sonia worries for about others who aren't as fortunate.

"I know that I'm not the only one in this position," Sonia says. "I know that there's probably half of Idaho that's along there with me."

By sharing their story, the Stoddard's hope to inspire change whether that be at the local level to advocate for an emergency housing option for families in Caldwell or at the state level to increase minimum wage so more people can afford housing.

Either way, you always have the option of letting your elected officials know how you feel.