WHITE ROCK, British Columbia, January 20, 2005 — A groundbreaking ceremony for Evergreen Heights, a new affordable assisted living development for seniors, was held today in White Rock. The new development will provide 84 assisted-living apartments for seniors under the Independent Living BC (ILBC) program, an innovative housing-for-health program that meets the needs of lower income seniors and people with disabilities.
The new development will represent the first publicly-funded assisted living apartments in the South Surrey-White Rock community and will complete a campus of care which includes existing housing and care facilities for seniors. The development is expected to be complete by early 2006 and will be owned and operated by the Evergreen Heights Baptist Housing Society, which provides housing for independent seniors and residential care for people with complex care needs on its grounds.
"Those who need it the most in White Rock will be able to live in a quality environment and continue to contribute to their communities," said the Honourable Stephen Owen, Minister of Western Economic Diversification and Minister of State (Sport), on behalf of the Honourable Joe Fontana, Minister of Labour and Housing. "This funding partnership enables seniors to continue to live in their community, near their families and friends, and ensures that they enjoy a high quality of life."
"Evergreen Heights is a wonderful example of how the Independent Living BC program provides our seniors with increased choices," said Gordon Hogg, Surrey-White Rock MLA. "It will provide a full range of options for our seniors to help them meet their unique care and affordable housing needs in their home community."
"Providing choices for our seniors is an important part of our mission," said Linda Ingham, Administrator of The Evergreen Heights Baptist Housing Society. "We're working with partners who share this goal — providing our seniors the opportunity to remain in the community as their care needs change."
The Evergreen Heights Baptist Housing Society adds this assisted living development to an established commitment to care for seniors, expanding the range of housing and care options currently available to seniors who are living longer, healthier lives.
"Locating a full range of services — from housing to assisted living to complex care — on the Evergreen campus will benefit the significant population of seniors living in South Surrey-White Rock," said Bob Smith, President and CEO of Fraser Health. "A campus of care promotes easier access to health services and living arrangements that are appropriate and responsive to a senior's changing care needs."
The ILBC program is managed by BC Housing in partnership with the Government of Canada, through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and the regional health authorities. The Evergreen Heights Baptist Housing Society contributed to this development by providing both land and financial backing.
The Province, through B.C. Housing and the ILBC program, is committed to providing 3,500 affordable apartments with support services across the province by 2006. To date more than 2,660 ILBC units have been allocated, 76 per cent of the program, in communities across the province.
ILBC is funded in part through the Canada-British Columbia Affordable Housing Agreement. The Government of Canada, through CMHC, will contribute $130 million by 2008 towards affordable housing in this province. The provincial government, through B.C. Housing, will provide a minimum of $34 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 British Columbians in greatest need.
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Evergreen Heights Baptist Housing Society
(Left to Right) Dr. Harry Senges, Evergreen Heights Baptist Housing Society, Chair of the Board of Directors; Mayor Judy Forrester, City of White Rock; MLA Gordon Hogg; the Honourable Stephen Owen, Minister of Western Economic Diversification; Barry Forbes, Fraser Health Chair of Board of Directors; Bob Smith, Fraser Health, CEO