Pensioner finds apartment

Andrew Robinson
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Man evicted from home of deceased girlfriend still faces challenges

Bill Hodder, whose story was told last month by The Telegram, is now renting a room in downtown
St. John’s. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram

A St. John’s man who was days away from becoming homeless is now renting a room in a downtown house. But 67-year-old Bill Hodder says his situation remains far from ideal.

“If you’re looking for improvement, there’s a little bit, but not enough to write home about,” said Hodder, speaking with The Telegram Sunday just outside of the house he is now living in.

Hodder, a pensioner who is also working part-time as a labourer to make ends meet, has a room in a house with three others that he will pay $575 per month to stay in.

He found those accommodations with help from the office of St. John’s Centre NDP MHA Gerry Rogers.

“I’ve never been in a place like this before,” said Hodder, who was able to find the room only a few days after The Telegram published a story about his predicament.

The man had been staying for a couple of months with his girlfriend of four years, Rosemary Soulier, before she recently passed away. Soulier was living in a Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp. (NLHC) property.

Hodder must complete tax paperwork before he can apply for social housing. The wait list as of mid-January was 831, with approximately 900 applicants placed annually according to NLHC.

Hodder has complained it is almost impossible to find affordable accommodations and purchase other necessities in St. John’s with a pension income.

The independent living environment is difficult for Hodder to manage, given he is not capable of cooking for himself. Hodder said he managed to have one home-cooked meal within the last three weeks.

“I’m no good near a stove, and I was never put in the position before, because there was always somebody there to cook for me,” he explained, adding that the fire department has been called on multiple occasions where Hodder attempted to use a stove.

He eats crackers, bread and jam at the house and visits a corner store if he wants a sandwich. He considered a meals-on-wheels option that would deliver warm food to his home, but said the food would come at 11 a.m. while he is at work.

“You go to work 8 a.m., you get off at 4:30 in the evening and come home. What are you going to do? Eat a sandwich and a biscuit? I mean, there’s not very much nourishment after all that.”

He does not see the house as a permanent fix.

“It’s only temporary, hopefully,” said Hodder, who had looked at another rental property but saw its price climb from $600 per month to $900 per month in less than a day.

“I can’t cope with this one at all.”

NLHC told The Telegram last month that approximately 90 per cent of applicants are looking for one-bedroom apartments, while 80 per cent of existing public housing stock consists of three-bedroom apartments.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: The Telegram, Newfoundland and Labrador Housing

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Recent comments

  • Dardenelle
    February 04, 2013 - 10:44

    The people who comment on this site make me sick. This man works! He isn't out being a lazy good for nothing burden to society like all those kids you see with three and four youngsters (Who did that to themselves by the way, you can't say its not their fault three times!), walking around half dressed smoking cigarettes and living off of my tax dollars. I rarely see someone who deserves my tax dollars, other than seniors and disabled people. But this is a man who surely deserves some help and is too proud to get it. God bless him for being a worker and for sticking it out by himself all of this time. I wish I could help you in the way of accommodations or homecare but I live on the other side of the province. Good luck Mr Hodder.

  • Nancy
    February 04, 2013 - 10:23

    Disgusting comments by Keyboard Warriors. A Keyboard Warrior is someone who sits in front of their computer looking for opportunities to blast people in order to satisfy some pathetic need to make themselves feel better. This man reminds me of my Pop, he was always the worker, building boats. My Nan did all the cooking in the family. He's been thrown into a situation where he is all alone, living in a house with strangers, working a labour job at the age of 67! I wish I could just hug him and make things better. My god, how many other people out there are in similar situations? It breaks my heart.

  • Mary
    February 04, 2013 - 09:47

    I am so ashamed sometimes of negative people and their comments. It's no doubt that Mr. Hodder still grieves for his dear friend & companion Rosemary."Bread cast on the water comes back to you.The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time.If you never see the deed again at least you will have made the world a better place. After all, isn't that what life is all about." Unless you know this man's circumstances please do not be too quick to judge!! Some peoples minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set. Think positively sometimes and try to picture yourself in this man's situation. Life can change for anyone in a blink through no fault of their own. I pray life will improve for you soon Mr. Hodder.

  • Ginger
    February 04, 2013 - 09:34

    @ GRANT........even you my love, could use a little help....check your spelling!!!

  • Watcher
    February 04, 2013 - 09:28

    I can sympathize with the rent issue, but not the lack of independence. Might be time to look into an old age home.

  • John
    February 04, 2013 - 09:25

    I sympathize with that man. I receive $1400.00 a month OAS and CPP. In order to afford a place to live I had to move outside St. John's. I have a nice appartment for $750.00 a month...After I pay utilities and food and a couple of bills there is not much left for social activities. It is very discouraging that Governments dont do more for seniors who have worked all their lives and paid taxes and helped others any way they could. Remember, young people, someday you will be seniors. So, make sure NOW that better arrangements are made for your senior years.

  • Sheri
    February 04, 2013 - 09:24

    People really need to stop and think before they begin to mouth off here! This man works-he is prob more willing to learn, than some lazy ass people who I witness on a daily basis, who can't even seem to get dressed to run to a store,and think its ok or cute to wear pj bottoms! GROSS!!!(( Then we wonder why so many cases of bedbugs are popping up...HULLLO))!!!....give this guy a break-he is alone and just starting over...with help, I'm sure and I hope he makes out just fine!!!

  • Sad Situations...
    February 04, 2013 - 09:15

    Just this weekend past, I visited with my parents who are 60 and 59..very young still ! While there, I observed my Mother having to, on a daily basis...lay my Fathers meds out for him to take(prob 12 pills) and my father said...If your Mother wasn't around, I wouldn't know what was what!, its not because my Father is lazy or inept...he worked hard all his life, and darn hard-most times 2 jobs! But I agree with what another person here commented on by saying-they are back in the days when the woman did the “taking care of Family” routine-although, she worked and still works as well...basically it was always done for was the cooking and cleaning! I am sure this gentleman was in this same era--and that is just the way it was! I know, god forbid-if something happened to my Mom now, my Dad would be lost when it comes to the cooking and cleaning...but it would only take someone, such as Family or friends to help him along until he was used to it.. And felt comfortable with it...maybe that's all this poor guy needs..give him a break guys, we were all raised different and still need a helping hand from time to time you know!

  • Herb Morrison
    February 04, 2013 - 09:08

    The last sentence of my earlier post should read: À little compassion please

  • saelcove
    February 04, 2013 - 09:06

    Can not cook do not know how to use a stove at 67 years old. I believe he is looking for a baby sitter

  • Herb Morrison
    February 04, 2013 - 08:53

    The fact that Mr. Hodder can't cook for himself comes as no surprise to me. It is a well-known fact that when people of Mr. Hodder's generation were younger, that tasks such as cooking , cleaning,and washing clothes were considered to be "women's work." It was part of the culture "back in the day." Furthermore, if Mr. Hodder is recieving OAS and working part-times, even if he is ableto obtain housing from NLHC, his rent will be high. This is based on my own experience with NLHC when I worked our rent was raised. h I hasten to add that during our 15 years living in an NLHC unit, my family and I had no serious issues to complain about. Finally, I would like to pose a question to those who have chosen to utilize Mr. Hodder's plight in order to unleash yet another unjustified and uncalled for barrage of dispairaging remarks against someone who is struggling, essentially "kicking someone when he is down. My question being, what sort of `rush`do you people get from engaging in what I would consider to be unethical behaviour. Frankly, your remarks make me wanna puke. A little complease please.

  • grant
    February 04, 2013 - 08:48

    My mother had two legs amputated at the hips. she cooked all her meals for her and visitors. she made her bed, did light house work, got in and out of shower, to independent to ask for help. she always found a way to do things. here is a healthy guy who cant cook craft dinner. we have to many of those around, looking for hand-outs. Kick him out on the street.

  • Eileen
    February 04, 2013 - 08:43

    Why are we so down on seniors? CPP and Old age is not enough to live on. We will pay for an apt for a 16 year old with no dependants and look after the girls out having their babies. Why aren't we keeping our priorities straight and look after the people who have worked all their lives.

  • what
    February 04, 2013 - 08:41

    Is he getting a pension from working? If yes that''s a pension, CPP, OAS and he is working. If he can't live on that, either he is wasting money or we will be seeing a lot more than this. Re the stove, it looks like he is a man that grew up being taken care of. As usual we don't have enough details. When the media publicizes these stories, they risk making him look bad. Now he has to work with the guys who will tease him that he can't take care of himself. 67 is not old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please more detail.

  • Jack
    February 04, 2013 - 08:18

    The only way the Newfoundland and Labrador Government will address affordable housing issues for seniors, disabled persons, and low income families is that Newfoundland and Labrador Housing start building more and more affordable housing instead of relying on property managing companies with a terrible reputation like Martek. About Martek, last week, this company wrongfully evicted over 30 tenants, mainly low income residents through Newfoundland and Labrador Housing.

  • Happily Retired
    February 04, 2013 - 08:08

    Yeah, everybody. Now that he's down, let's put the boots to him. What's going on in this province? Are we so miserable that it offends us to see anybody who's down and out getting some help. He wasn't asking you to come in and cook for him. He was just describing his plight, probably because he was being probed by the writer. Come on, folks, let's show some common courtesy.

  • Judy
    February 04, 2013 - 07:50

    If this man is over sixty-five, he must also be receiving Old Age Security. It's stated that the Fire Department has been called in multiple times. Heavens, anyone can stand by the stove and keep an eye on the burners and turn them down if need be. I know people on Welfare or receiving OAS, and most of them certainly find money for cigarettes, and then get food from Food Banks.

  • cooker
    February 04, 2013 - 07:40

    I also sympathize for this fella but in our society today too many people expect to be looked after. Im sorry if your this guys age and cant cook a meal for yourself( most basic if survival) then somethings wrong.

    February 04, 2013 - 07:13

    One time, there were loads of good boarding houses in St John's where single men could live in a warm house and come home from a hard days work to a half decent meal. I knew several ladies who took in boarders and they treated their boarders like family. Is it not possible to find these anymore? Sounds like an ideal situation for this man. Hope he finds something soon. Having to turn to NLH is demoralizing and seems to create more problems than in solves.

  • flexxa
    February 04, 2013 - 06:51

    ...while i sympathize with his plight broadcasting that you "...can't cook?" Calling the fire department when you get near a stove - come on - I got 10 year olds at home who can get a warm meal for themselves if needed. What's next - needs a maid cause he'll roll "total the vacuum" - I hope the wife doesn't read this!