Three years have passed since the launch of the SHINE (Seniors Housing Information and Navigation Ease) program. While SHINE has been glowingly innovative and successful, SSSBC has tracked trends through its cross-regional networks. Seven common challenges and trends have emerged, which will inform and improve our ongoing program and service delivery.
1. Shelters: Shelters are often inadequate and not always accessible for older adults due to many variables necessitating an urgent response for temporary accommodations specific to seniors.
2. Barriers to Housing Searches: Older adults may not have access to or be comfortable with computers, using email/search engines and cell phones, creating barriers to conducting housing searches, using online directories, and applying for subsidies and support. Additionally, they may be unable to drive, have mobility challenges, or have difficulty accessing transportation to attend tenant interviews.
3. Lack of Pet-Friendly Rental Options: Most rentals do not accept pets, which offer seniors emotional support, a sense of purpose, and companionship. Having to part with a long-time support animal can be experienced as a significant loss and affect the seniors’ mental and emotional health. Read our post: A perPETual issue: Seniors and Pet-friendly Housing Challenge
4. Illegal Renovictions: Under-reported renovictions negatively affect seniors displaced from rent-controlled homes to find unaffordable market-rate rental units.
5. Age and Gender Discrimination: A majority of our clients cannot afford a studio or one bedroom on a fixed income, so they have to find a single room in a shared residence; however, many experience age discrimination from landlords looking for roommates that can offer benefits (like doing yard work). It was also reported that some male homeowners ask women renters to supply cooking and cleaning services.
6. Transit Development Woes: New Skytrain rapid transit, e.g., between Langley and Surrey, is destroying established housing units at a time when more are urgently needed. Additionally, transit development impacts rental and residential neighborhoods now and in the future, including the Broadway redevelopment.
7. Hospital Discharges without a Housing Plan: There are also reports that there is a recurring cycle of seniors being hospitalized, discharged without housing, possibly living in vehicles or couch-surfing, becoming homeless, and returning to the hospital.
For more information visit SHINE BC today!