Seniors Housing Collaborative: Building towards systemic change

The Seniors Housing Collaborative was pleased to launch its first podcast in March as part of the SSSBC Fridays with Seniors Series hosted by Peter Legge. In partnership with the City of New Westminster Planning Department and Fire and Rescue Services, our first episode focused on Emergency Preparedness. Members recognized that emergencies—including flooding, extreme heat or cold, or earthquakes—can happen with little warning.

Advance preparation is key for coping when an event occurs. With summer coming up, seniors—particularly those living in walk-up apartments without air conditioning—are particularly vulnerable to the impact of high summer heat. A senior SHC member lost a long-term friend due to the heat dome in 2021, which highlighted this as a collective priority.

What can people do? Take the opportunity to connect with neighbours to share questions or concerns and talk about your plans for managing. Who will need a knock on the door, a ride to an air-conditioned mall, library, or cooling centre, or the loan of a working fan? Putting a network in place before you need it strengthens our whole community.

In addition to launching the podcasts, we welcomed Rob Turnbull of Streetohome to talk about their system-wide response to address homelessness. Members were particularly interested in their Life Intentions Action Planner (LIAP), which maps a range of services in Vancouver that may be accessed by people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The Seniors Housing Collaborative (SHC) is working to shift policy and practice so low-income seniors can age in the right place with appropriate services and strong networks. Membership includes 20+ people, including housing and service providers, municipal representatives, and eight seniors with diverse perspectives on the rental landscape. We are engaging other speakers to continue our work to draft policy briefs and nurture partnerships for change.

For more information, contact Mariam Larson, Collaborative Project Manager: mariaml@seniorsservicessociety.ca

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