Recently married elderly Winnipeg couple receives eviction notice after joint income increased
Published Friday, October 14, 2011 5:59PM CST
Three days after a Winnipeg couple tied the knot they received an eviction notice in the mail.
80-year-old Jacque Blackburn and 83-year-old Adrienne Sutherland have been told now that they're married, they make too much money to live in Sutherland's building.
The couple returned from their two-day honeymoon in Fargo when Blackburn moved into the one-bedroom apartment with his wife.
Three days later, there was an eviction notice in the mail. The couple's combined pensions earn them about $36,000 a year total. That's too much income to live in the low income housing complex, Sutherland has lived in for 14 years.
"I'm sure there's a way out from this," said Sutherland. "It doesn't have to be this way because I've been here so long."
The board of directors of the building says its hands are tied and that if it were to make an exception for the couple it would have to do it for everyone else.
The board said it's following the rules set out by the Manitoba Elderly and Infirm Persons Act. It states low income tenants can't make more than five times the amount of a month's rent. Because of that Sutherland and Blackburn have been given three months to pack up their things and leave.
"It's a dilemma," said Guy Savoie of the building's board of directors. "We're not heartless but the fact of the matter is they're in contravention of the rules and we have no choice."
Sutherland has a heart condition. Blackburn fears the stress of a move would be too much for her to bear. He's even willing to walk out on his new bride in order to save her life.
"To me, I know I'm going to separate. She doesn't want that of course, neither do I. But I will not put her in a hospital," said Blackburn.
Up until one year ago, the building was owned by Manitoba Housing. It's now owned by a not-for-profit organization whose board of directors says it can't break the rules to accommodate the couple.
The province recommends the couple appeal the eviction with the residential tenancies branch. They can't be kicked out until that is resolved.
-With a report from CTV's Caroline Barghout