Housing on the Westside of Vancouver

by Westside Seniors Hub | 2017-05-30 11:14:12

The Westside Seniors Hub (WSH) received a grant from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) to examine seniors housing on the west side of Vancouver.  Over the past year, many WSH partner organizations reported seeing more and more seniors at risk of losing their housing. Many older buildings in Kitsilano, Marpole, Kerrisdale and South Granville are being sold and redeveloped. Many long time renters are being displaced.

Seniors prefer to age-in-place. “They want to age in the neighbourhoods they know where they can remain active and connected to medical services, local stores and recreational programs”, says Joanne Haramia, Director of Seniors Services at Jewish Family Service Agency, the WSH partner that received the funds. It is almost impossible for a long time renter in Kitsilano, who faces eviction due to redevelopment, to find an affordable alternative in the neighbourhood. Seniors are facing a move to Coqutlam or another less expensive suburb.

Agencies on the west side are seeing seniors who rent at risk of ‘renoviction’ as properties are sold for re-development or upgraded to increased rents that are often beyond seniors’ fixed income levels. Seniors who own their own homes are also at risk as they are often unable to maintain or adapt their homes as they age on fixed incomes.  They may be property rich but are cash poor.

With a small VCH community grant, WSH was able to hire a researcher to produce a report after interviewing more than 30 stakeholders, both workers in the field, funders and senior renters. Participants were also asked to share their ideas on ways to increase stock, innovation and collaboration across agencies.

The report Seniors Housing on the Westside of Vancouver is a snapshot of what agencies are seeing and doing. It can be accessed through the Westside Seniors Hub website at:

http://westsideseniorshub.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Seniors-Housing-on-the-Westside-of-Vancouver_Final-report_April-2017.pdf

The grant also included funds for a half-day gathering of participants to share strategies and ways to collaborate. The researcher assisted in organizing a forum at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House on April 26th. The half-day forum was designed to bring housing stakeholders and agencies together to explore innovative ideas related to key themes from the report – maximizing the use of existing housing stock, increasing housing stock, advocating for policy change, and collaborating across agencies. Vancity generously offered a skilled staff person to facilitate the event.

A report from the forum will be shared with the community through this website later this month.  WSH Partners and the senior-led WSH Council recognize that it will take both innovative ideas and courageous community leadership to address the housing issues currently facing seniors. They want to thank Vancouver Costal Health for supporting this important work.

If you want to find out more or become involved, please see the contact information below:

2305 West 7th Avenue
Vancouver BC V6K 1Y4
Tel: 604-736-3588
westsideseniorshub.org
seniorshub@kitshouse.org