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Affordable Assisted Living for Gibsons' Seniors

GIBSONS, British Columbia, September 27, 2004 — Seniors with low to moderate incomes in Gibsons will have more options for affordable housing and personal care with the construction of 60 assisted living apartments as part of a new campus of care that also includes complex care beds and dementia cottages. The official groundbreaking ceremony for this development took place today, with the units expected to be complete by fall 2005.

The assisted living apartments are funded under Independent Living BC (ILBC), an innovative housing-for-health program facilitated by BC Housing in partnership with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and Vancouver Coastal Health. The Town of Gibsons is assisting the project with allowances on development fees.

"Seniors will to be able to live in a better environment and receive the special attention they deserve, thanks to the co-operative efforts between various levels of government and local partners" said Don Bell, MP for North Vancouver on behalf of the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing. "This project demonstrates concretely the commitment the Government of Canada has to provide an integrated approach to care for the vulnerable members of our society."

"The provincial government is working diligently to expand the range of housing options available to seniors, and to make assisted living more accessible and affordable throughout the province," said Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Harold Long. "Seniors in Gibsons will now have the option to continue to live independently while accessing the personal care that they need at the new campus of care facility."

Research has indicated that while some frail seniors need ongoing professional nursing care, the vast majority do not want or need 24-hour care in an institutional setting. Assisted living adds to the range of housing and care options currently available, and better suits a growing population of seniors who are living longer, healthier lives.

"This project is a great opportunity to provide a range of housing and care options for seniors on one campus of care, consistent with our overall strategy for community care at Vancouver Coastal Health," said Ellen Pekeles, Chief Operating Officer, North Shore/Coast Garibaldi. "I am particularly excited about working with the Good Samaritan Society, as they are recognized leaders in providing care to seniors."

"We have travelled a long road to get us to this point. Council and staff were pleased with the integrity and honesty of the Good Samaritans as we negotiated the complex aspects of these much needed seniors care residences. We anticipate a progressive future for the community, care residents and future employees," said Mayor Barry Janyk.

This is one of five developments in B.C. owned and operated by the Good Samaritan Society, a non-profit care giving organization. The society also manages a campus of care in Penticton, Mountainview Phase I and II Kelowna, and in Salmon Arm.

"These 60 affordable assisted living units will allow seniors and persons with disabilities to continue to live in their own communities independently, which defines quality of life for many of them," said Phil Gaudet, President and CEO, Good Samaritan Society.

The province through BC Housing will create a total of 3,500 affordable apartments with support services across the province by 2006. To date, more than 2,350 units have been allocated under the program, with hundreds more to be allocated in the coming months.

ILBC is funded in part through the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Program Agreement. The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will contribute $88.7 million towards affordable housing in this province. The provincial government, through BC Housing, will provide $29.7 million annually to subsidize the costs of units built under this agreement, as part of a larger strategy to provide a range of housing options for vulnerable British Columbians.

Backgrounder

Good Samaritan Society

The Good Samaritan Society, a Lutheran Social Service Organization, has over 50 years experience in providing continuing care, assisted living and other specialized health care services and facilities in an innovative and caring environment. It is one of the largest voluntary health care providers in Canada.

The society was created in 1949 and built its first facility, a long-term care hospital, in 1955. Capital development has since expanded within Alberta and British Columbia to include nine continuing care centres, 10 assisted living facilities, five seniors' supportive housing facilities, 19 purpose-built for persons with development disabilities, and a corporate office. The Good Samaritan Society is purchasing the land from Vancouver Coastal Health in the amount of $432,000.

The society has played a key role in the development of new and innovative programs--ones that are becoming industry standards throughout Canada.

Development Facts

Location: Shaw Road, Gibsons V0N 1V8

Number of new units: 60 independent living apartments funded by the Independent Living BC (ILBC) program.

The facility is planned around a campus of care model, where 30 of the 80 new complex care beds are designated for dementia care clients, who will live in three cottages on the site. The 60 ILBC units will be self-contained apartments where tenants may receive personal care and hospitality services, such as some meals, housekeeping and laundry services, and recreational opportunities.

Tenants will pay 70 per cent of their after-tax income for their homes.

Partnership Contributions

  • The federal government, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, is providing a $1.86 million capital grant.
  • The provincial government, through BC Housing, will provide operating subsidies of $4.9 million over 35 years. BC Housing is also providing interim construction financing.
  • Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the operating costs projected at $5.2 million annually towards services provided to tenants.
  • The Town of Gibsons is providing reductions on various development costs at an approximate value of $194,000.

Independent Living BC

In December 2001 the province, through BC Housing, launched the Independent Living BC program in partnership with the federal government, regional health authorities, and the private and non-profit sectors.

The program will create 3,500 affordable independent living units with support services across the province by 2006.

Seniors are referred to ILBC units by their local health authorities. Case managers work with individual seniors to determine whether independent living is the best option to meet their needs.

Contacts:

Naomi Brunemeyer
BC Housing
(604) 439-4758

Laurie Dawkins
Vancouver Coastal Health
(604) 708-5234

Christina Wensley
CMHC
(604) 737-4032

Joanne Dusterbeck
The Good Samaritan Society
(780) 431-3706

Visit the Province's website at www.gov.bc.ca for online information and services.

Don Bell, Ellen Pekelles, Harold Long, Barry Janyk & Beverley Boren
Don Bell, MP North Vancouver Ellen Pekelles, Vancouver Coastal Health Harold Long, MLA Powell River — Sunshine Coast Barry Janyk, Mayor of Gibsons Beverley Boren, Director Good Samaritan Canada

News source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)

 

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