The ability to provide good quality housing for seniors with the right supports is important, according to Pacifica Housing executive director Dean Fortin, whose organization made its first purchase of a Nanaimo seniors’ facility this year.
The Victoria-based organization recently announced that with the help of B.C. Housing, it’s purchased Pacifica Seniors Lodge on Hecate Street and Harbour View Manor on Nicol Street in south Nanaimo.
The buildings will provide affordable living for seniors and low-income earners.
“We’re excited to build on our success with the new projects,” said Fortin in a press release. “Nanaimo is like a lot of B.C. communities. Residents are facing a housing crunch and this adds supply and grows our capacity to meet emerging needs for creative solutions on the Island.”
Harbour View Manor, which has undergone major cosmetic upgrades, is a 45-bedroom, $6-million complex. B.C. Housing contributed $350,0000 to its purchase and holds the second mortgage and Pacifica contributed $200,000.
There’s also a permissive tax exemption from the City of Nanaimo, which Fortin says allows Pacifica to lower rents and ensure it stays affordable so that people pay no more than 30 per cent of their income on rent.
Pacifica Seniors Lodge is a 40-unit building that provides supports to seniors through light housekeeping, meals and programs for an average $1,400-$1,500 a month. It was for sale and Fortin said it was important for Pacifica to pick up the property and preserve it as inexpensive housing for seniors.
B.C. Housing provided $2.6 million in interim purchase financing for the building, which has been taken over by Pacifica at favourable rates, according to the organization. B.C. Housing also committed to capital improvements of $400,000.
“That’s one of the biggest arising challenges, well, frankly in Nanaimo, Victoria and British Columbia, is the increase in the amount of seniors and the amount of seniors who are challenged for income,” said Fortin, who sees seniors’ housing as a part of Pacifica’s future.
“Pacifica is about providing affordable housing, but more importantly providing homes and we certainly see a growth in the amount of the seniors’ population and we certainly see a growth in the challenges between the haves and have nots and so as a registered charity, we really see it as part of our mission and goal to help support those who need assistance.”