A Sidney woman has started a petition to help Zora Hlevnjak, who faces eviction from her Sidney apartment after depositing money raised from empty cans and donations. (Black Press Media File)

A Sidney woman has started a petition to help Zora Hlevnjak, who faces eviction from her Sidney apartment after depositing money raised from empty cans and donations. (Black Press Media File)

Sidney woman has launched petition to help senior facing eviction

Zora Hlevnjak, who supplements her pension by collecting cans, faces eviction Jan. 21

A Sidney woman has started a petition to help a well-known community member facing eviction.

The petition started by Nicole Bengtsson calls on Beacon Community Services from evicting Zora Hlevnjak, a 76-year-old woman, who has been collecting empty cans for years to supplement her pension. As of Jan. 12, 372 individuals have signed the petition.

Hlevnjak faces eviction from Sidney’s Wakefield Manor, where she has been staying since 2004, because of failure to pay $1,087 for three month’s worth of rent following a rent increase. She had previously paid $524 per month under the terms of provincially subsidized housing, but now faces a monthly bill of $887.

Hlevnjak, who faces eviction by Jan. 21, faces the increase after submitting her financial statements in late 2019.

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

Tim O’Brien, who manages Sidney’s Wakefield Manor where Hlevnjak has been living since 2004, had told the Peninsula News Review earlier that the woman’s rent rose after she started to report her “proper income” as per terms of provincially subsidized housing. Beacon Community Services owns Wakefield Manor, which has been operating as a subsidizing housing facility since its opening 30 years ago.

“Every tenant in a subsidized building like Wakefield Manor pays 30 per cent of their income towards rent, which is the affordable standard throughout the province,” he said. “We didn’t raise the rent. She just started to report her proper income.”

Hlevnjak told the Peninsula News Review earlier that she knew of the threshold and the requirement to submit financial statement, but does not think she should pay the difference, because she does not think of the money she made by collecting cans as income. Hlevnjak also receives donations of money and food from passersby.

“I knew [the rules], but my mind doesn’t allow me to accept to pay [back-rent] from empties and from people that give me money for food,” she said. “I didn’t spend it and I don’t even have that money. I sent it to my people [in Croatia].”

Bengtsson’s petition said Hlevnjak’s issue is an issue of human rights. “We cannot allow Beacon Community Services to continue to push Zora out into the street because she spends days and nights collecting cans and bottles to supplement her income,” it reads. “This is not how we treat our vulnerable seniors.”

Bengtsson’s petition said residents can help Hlevnjak by raising funds to help cover the rent increase that Beacon Community Services is “unfairly demanding” from her. “We can also write letters [to Tim O’Brien] Beacon Community Services in Sidney, insisting that they allow Zora to continue to remain in her apartment and waiving the increase in rent he has demanded of her.”

The Peninsula News Review has reached out to Bengtsson for comment. O’Brien said Hlevnjak can stay her in her apartment if she makes up the outstanding rent. “I don’t want to evict her,” he said. “All that is happening here is that she is refusing to pay her 30 per cent of income as defined by the rules that we are governed by,” he said later.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Saanich installed a temporary portable along Lochside Trail near Michell’s Farm Market and remains in discussion with the Capital Regional District about finding what Mayor Ryan Windsor called a ‘permanent solution’ to ensuring washroom access at the popular location. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Central Saanich in talks with CRD about ‘permanent’ washroom facility near Lochside Trail

The municipality installed a temporary portable washroom near Michell’s Farm Market last week

(Black Press Media file photo)
Bylaw officers called to Saanich park for COVID-19 protocol violations on pickleball court

Raquet sport players reminded to avoid doubles play amid pandemic

A video captured by Twitter user Teddy Jenner of a fire in Beacon Hill Park the night of Jan. 21, 2021. (Twitter/@OfftheCrosseBar)
Fire rips through tents, wooden structures in Beacon Hill Park

Emergency crews say there was no injuries in the blaze

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

A collage of damaged areas in need of repair in Oak Bay municipal hall, including carpet hazards, missing wall pieces and interior water damage. (District of Oak Bay images)
Oak Bay awards contract for municipal hall renovation

$470,000 will go towards cracked walls, ripped flooring

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Most Read