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Calgary senior concerned she won't be able to afford mortgage come her renewal

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Calgary senior Brenda Willy is still living in the house she bought 36 years ago, but now she's worried she might have to sell.

"I had left my husband and was looking for a place to live," said the Midnapore resident.

"I came across this place and snapped it up. I've been in love with it ever since.  I have so many memories here."

Willy says her mortgage is up for renewal next summer, and with interest rates going up, she expects to pay close to $300 more a month – money she says she doesn't have.

"Things are very tight for me, very tight," she said. "I'm a low-income senior, I have my mortgage, I have my taxes, I have a small loan that I had to take out for my water tank because I couldn't afford to pay it all at once - those are my major expenses. Food, utilities is huge, to run a vehicle and all that, just overall maintenance of a house is expensive."

Willy says the only way she may be able to stay in her home is if she extends her mortgage for 30 more years, an arrangement she says will likely outlive her.

Charles St. Arnaud, chief economist with Alberta Central, says more and more Canadians are being forced into similar situations.

"It started earlier this year with some people who had variable rate mortgage where their interest payments started to eat up all the payments that were going toward the principle," he said.

"We are seeing more and more borrowers that are in the same situation, and will have to extend their loan period to be able to cope with the high interest rates."

Willy says she never thought at this point in her life she'd be struggling to find a place to live."

"I've paid taxes in this country, I've worked since I was 16 years old," she said. 

"They say they want seniors left in their homes, yet its getting to the point of how can we afford to stay in our homes?"

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