A Blackfalds couple has received a brief reprieve from losing their home to foreclosure.
Ronald and Irene Olson found out in Calgary court earlier this week that they need to come up with $10,000 by Dec. 15 in order to cover arrears, legal and court fees. If they don’t then they’ll lose the specially-designed home that was built to accommodate Irene’s multiple sclerosis.
The home has room for a wheelchair, big doorways and ramps.
A fundraiser is planned for the couple and a trust fund has been set up at Servus Credit Union in Blackfalds under Ronald and Irene Olson Trust Fund.
The fundraiser will take place Nov. 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Community Hall. Tickets for the beef dinner fundraiser are $12 for those over 12 and $5 for children from age six to 12, with tickets available at After the Grind and Family Foods in Blackfalds or by phoning Debbie at 403-885-5948.
Ronald Olson, 53, worked in the oilpatch for 40 years and wasn’t out of work for more than a week before losing his job in April. But since then he hasn’t had any luck finding a new job.
He needs to be close to Blackfalds in order to help Irene, 51, because her peripheral vision has already been affected by multiple sclerosis and she can no longer drive. In its final stages the disease can lead to paralysis.
Ronald said there is no help available through legal aid or otherwise because in the past his salary was too high. The couple’s mortgage is $1,700 and Ronald’s employment insurance cheque is just $1,600 a month.
Ronald said it is time for the provincial government to start taking a look at the number of people who are in a similar situation and see what can be done to help them. “There are so many people in the same predicament and they’re lost,” he said.
The only thing that has kept the couple going is the volunteer work they do in Blackfalds, where they serve as the block captains with the local Neighbourhood Watch group and are involved with the Blackfalds Food Bank.
Each day they see more families coming in for help at the food bank.
Ronald said it is humbling to accept help himself.
Shelley Rodney, who lives just a few minutes away from the Olsons and has known them for around nine years, set up the trust fund account.
“They’ll do anything for anybody and they never ask for anything from anyone,” Rodney said.
She set up the trust fund after receiving calls from people asking how they could help.