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188 affordable housing units to become available for Calgary seniors


A $38 million project spanning three building sites in a partnership between the city of Calgary and the federal government will provide 188 affordable units specifically meant for seniors to Calgary.

The project is funded by the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) and the National Housing Co-investment fund, with Calgary-based Silvera for Seniors as the recipient.

One of the locations is at the Silvera Vista Apartments in the northeast community of Horizon with 120 low-cost units after a federal program spent $15.5 million to convert a hotel at 2622 39th Avenue N.E.

The building is expected to be at full capacity by June. About 30 residents have moved in as of Dec. 2021.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said the city needs 2500 new affordable homes every year while only an average of 400 have been made available over the last five years.

Gondek said the pandemic has added major challenges for vulnerable seniors.

"I think with the recession that started back in 2014, the one we have not recovered from yet -- with the pandemic layered on top of it -- we can see that many families that were just getting by have fallen into some fairly precarious positions of being almost unhoused."

One Calgary-based research institute said the housing needs of Canadians over 65 is changing and becoming increasingly uncertain.

"Affordable housing is the most pressing public policy challenge in Canada right now. The cost of living has rocketed to the top of Canadians' list of concerns in the last few months of polling," said James Staunch, the director of the Institute for Community Prosperity at Mount Royal University.

Stauch says many recent factors are compounding the housing affordability crisis facing Canadian seniors.

Inflation has reached a 30 year high of just under five per cent.

Calgary home prices are up 12 per cent from last year.

Gasoline prices have skyrocketed beyond record-breaking prices in Alberta, driven by a global energy insecurity and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"Even though seniors are only about four per cent of the total homeless population. They're the lowest demographic represented among the homeless. They're actually the fastest increasing demographic, so low now, but rapidly increasing," said Stauch.

The federal government has identified an urgent housing need and established the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) providing a $2.5 billion dollar program to build 10,000 new affordable homes.

"These residences will enable Calgary seniors to continue to live, thrive and maintain the social connections that they have in the communities that they know and love," said Ahmed Hussen,Canada's Federal Minister of Housing, Diversity and Inclusion.

The second location for affordable seniors' homes is at the Westview Residence West in Glamorgan with 82 units at a variety of payment options: rental, independent living and supported living.

The Livingston Terrace in the city's northern outskirts will provide an additional 42 units by spring 2023.

All three projects are owned and operated by the non-profit provider Silvera for Seniors.

"(We should not take for granted) the importance of people not being on the street, the importance of people having safe housing is critical," said Arlene Adamson, CEO of Silvera.

As part of the federal RHI, the housing units are typically completed within 12 to 18 months from when funding is provided.

Stauch has reported an estimated eight per cent of older Canadians live in residential care facilities. Top Stories

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