For the past 2 years, I have been involved with the Meridian Housing Foundation Committee’s Capital Campaign for Folkstone Manor. Meridian Housing Foundation’s mission is to provide and manage independent, supportive and affordable housing for seniors in our Region. Folkstone Manor is one of the area’s few affordable facilities for seniors with several units being prioritized for Veteran’s occupancy. Last week as a committee we were able to tour the almost completed facility. All the units and common areas are of universal design for greatest accessibility and support of aging-in-place. Meridian Housing Foundation has already purchased land for its next affordable housing project which is a lodge to be located in Spruce Grove. A senior's Lodge provides housing for senior citizens at affordable monthly rents and offers accommodations to those who no longer wish or are who are unable to maintain an independent household.
One of the greatest challenges our community faces is seniors who have outgrown their family homes or are living in adult complexes but desire to move to a place that is smaller, needs less upkeep, or to a accommodations that provides supportive services. There aren’t enough options and/or the cost is prohibitive for many. There continues to be adult duplex areas and senior apartment/condos to purchase that is being built in Spruce Grove but they are not affordable for most seniors. I hope to continue to research ideas, work with other regional partners to find common-sense solutions to provide a variety of AFFORDABLE accommodations in our city. My aging mother and grandchildren who live in Spruce Grove enjoy the benefits of having family to support them emotionally and physically when needed. All families should have that option! Our seniors should be able to age-in-place and enjoy their golden years close to family, friends, and the area they have called home for many years.
Affordable housing challenges in Spruce Grove don’t stop just with seniors. There are significant differences in housing needs among single adults, households with children, new immigrant families, people with disabilities, those transitioning from homelessness, LGBTQ2S+, victims of domestic violence, and individuals struggling with mental health and addictions. They all require different types of accommodations. One single approach cannot adequately address all our residents’ housing needs. Instead, we need a range of operating models, capital contributions, engagement, creative ideas, and community partnerships to address the lack of access to affordable housing in our community for all. I think we can look to the successes of other communities around the world and learn what has worked and how they have implemented successful plans. It takes people in our City to have the "spark" of ideas, to put in the efforts and to willing to ask others to join and work together for the benefit of us all.