There seems to be a lot of confusion about seniors housing, affordable housing, extended care facilities, and supportive independent living. As president of the Vimy Heritage Housing Society, I would like to explain what the objectives of VHHS are.
There is a gap in housing for seniors living in Yukon. There is housing for seniors who live independently in their own homes, apartments or condos. There are accommodations for people who need medical support and they live in residential facilities like Copper Ridge Place and for, short term, the hospital. There is housing for seniors who need low cost social housing like the new seniors apartments provided by the Yukon Housing Corporation.
The gap is that there is no place for seniors who don’t fit in the above categories. Specifically there is no place for seniors who find it difficult to live in their own homes without assistance such as for making meals, shovelling the sidewalk, fixing the roof, etc. They don’t fit in subsidized Yukon Housing and they don’t need the medical support in Copper Ridge and the hospital, but they are able to live independently with a bit of support.
The Vimy Heritage Housing Society in Yukon is looking to fill that gap with an option for seniors who can live independently in a safe, secure and a socially active environment, but need a bit of assistance. Supportive independent living offers private apartments along with meals in a pleasant dining-room style setting with opportunities to meet easily with friends and engage in programs in the building.
What does this cost? VHHS does not know yet for sure until all the variables have been pinned down, but it has prepared a business plan. If you do an Internet search on supportive independent facilities down south, you will find that fees range from $2,400 to $3,500 per month or more. This covers meals, programs and rent.
People pay for this with a mix of Canada pensions, private pensions, RRSPs and from money when they sell their houses. It is a different mix for everyone.
And what about people who don’t have enough income from these sources? In B.C., the B.C. Housing Corporation has a program called Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) which helps make rents affordable for B.C. seniors with low to moderate incomes. If you go to the Yukon Housing website, you will see that corporation offers a similar program. The B.C. Housing Corporation has been working well with private and non-profit associations to meet the housing needs of B.C. residents.
VHHS needs to know if Yukoners support this concept and how many people would be interested in living in this type of housing if it were to be built. A final decision has not yet been made to build it. The society needs additional information from Yukoners as quickly as possible and has engaged the services of a consulting firm to undertake a survey.
I would encourage Yukon seniors or families to help with the survey. You can find the survey online at http://vhhs.ca. For a paper version or questions about the survey or assistance call Norman Eady at 867-332-7444.
The Vimy Heritage Housing Society