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Nov. 26, 2014 | CREBNow

Supporting our seniors

Provincial-Federal funding to support senior housing in rural communities

A joint federal-provincial initiative will provide $160 million over four years to support renovations or replacements of seniors' lodge properties outside of Alberta's major centres.

"Nearly 70 per cent of all seniors' lodge units are in communities outside of Alberta's major centres," said Seniors Minister Jeff Johnson. "Multi-year investments like this are critical to ensuring aging properties are appropriately maintained or replaced."

The province announced it will work with housing management bodies to complete a full evaluation of seniors' lodges to determine priority projects. "Our investment in affordable housing allows flexibility so that provinces can direct our substantial federal investments toward their local priorities," said Minister of State Candice Bergen.

"We're pleased to partner with Alberta on this important initiative so that seniors living in rural communities have access to quality, affordable housing, close to their families, neighbours and the services they need."

An extension to the Canada-Alberta agreement for Investment in Affordable Housing was announced earlier this year to help Albertan seniors, those with low income and families meet their housing needs. The renewed agreement will see $202 million in joint funding made available for seniors housing through 2019.

"One of our most pressing priorities is to ensure seniors have the opportunity to age with dignity in the communities they helped build, surrounded by friends and family," said Alberta Premier Jim Prentice. "Increasing the number and quality of the spaces available in rural communities will help keep seniors in their hometowns where they feel connected and secure."

A report released this year by the City of Calgary Shifting Horizons: Housing Needs Changing as Calgary's Population Ages, found, starting in 2011, the first wave of Calgary's 268,000 baby boomers – born 1945-1965 – will turn 65 and add to the 98,000 seniors who already call the city home.

While some downsize from single-family to condo or adult community living, others will be seeking long-term care in a city with one of the lowest housing vacancy rates in Canada.

"Housing seniors is one of the huge crises that we have coming down the pipe for us," said Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra. "We have a huge seniors population who are asset-rich in the homes that they purchased a long time ago, but resource or cash-flow poor because they're on fixed income.

"This is maybe not a reality that reflects everyone ..., but it certainly is a reality of a huge number of seniors in my ward."

Tagged: Alberta Government | Calgary Community | Federal Government | funding | housing | Rural | seniors

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