City funds the creation of a new seniors centre
April 11 2017
Today the City took an innovative step to support Vancouver’s low-income seniors population by providing up to $800,000 in funding to 411 Seniors Centre Society to assist in the construction of a new seniors centre in the Kensington Cedar-Cottage neighbourhood.
The new centre will provide a much needed service to the neighbourhoods surrounding the proposed location. Currently there is no seniors centre in the area despite having one of Vancouver’s largest seniors’ populations, and one of the highest rates of seniors living alone or in poverty in the City.
The financial contribution will allow 411 Seniors Centre Society to partner with the City’s Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA) to create a multipurpose centre on the ground floor of a new building to be located at 3510 Fraser Street. VAHA, in collaboration with Community Land Trust and BC Housing is building affordable rental housing for seniors on the top five floors. The housing will provide approximately 50 units, comprised of studio and one bedroom units. Five per cent of the units will be wheelchair accessible.
“I’m pleased to see VAHA move forward in developing City-owned land to deliver affordable rental homes for seniors,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Finding quality, affordable rental homes in Vancouver - especially for seniors on low and fixed incomes - is a significant challenge. This new centre gives seniors in Kensington Cedar-Cottage secure, affordable housing in the heart of their community close to the amenities and services they value.”
“VAHA is thrilled to be partnering with 411 Seniors Centre Society to create affordable rental homes for seniors in a neighbourhood where there's a need to better serve seniors,” says Luke Harrison, CEO of VAHA. “For seniors who pay more than 30 per cent on housing costs, it is vital that we work with our key partners to build affordable housing for senior's now and for the future.”
411 Seniors Centre Society has been providing a range of multi-service programs for the last 45 years. Services include access to citywide information and referrals and programs focused on health and wellness. In 2011, 411 Seniors Centre Society sold the building they owned in downtown Vancouver and moved into temporary offices near Main and Terminal. The society currently serves 5,600 seniors with 90 per cent being low income. The organization has a long history of working closely with the City and has been supported for the past 32 years through a Community Services grant.
“The grant is a major step towards realizing our project of a new seniors centre with affordable housing for seniors on the same site,” says Stuart Alcock, President of 411 Seniors Centre Society. “We have heard for years about the need for more seniors housing so this is an important initiative and we are grateful to Council and City staff for their commitment to seniors' interests."
The creation of a seniors centre at this location supports the City of Vancouver’s status as an Age Friendly City and helps to advance the goals of the City of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy.
Vancouver’s seniors population is expected to double in the next 30 years with an increase of more than 93,000 seniors by 2036. The City of Vancouver has responded to the changing demographics and needs of Vancouver’s seniors population through a number of key actions:
- Opening of Killarney Seniors Centre: A 10,000 sq. foot facility dedicated to providing services and programs to Vancouver’s southeast growing sector.
- City support for a new neighbourhood-based seniors’ centre on Vancouver’s West Side.
- Age Friendly Action Plan (2013-2015): The plan was designed to help make Vancouver a safer, more inclusive and engaging place for seniors, specifically the plan called for funding for age-friendly amenities, including seniors centres in southeast Vancouver.
- Healthy City Strategy, Phase I (2014-2025): A long term and integrated plan for social sustainability with an end goal of attaining equity and wellness for all.
- Social Grants: Council provides grants to community-based groups providing services to our growing seniors population.