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Ask Angie: Seniors housing waitlist help available

Q: A fellow senior got help getting on subsidized housing waitlists by contacting the Resource Centre. What does help from you look like?
Shot of a senior man using a laptop while going over his bills and finances at home

Q: A fellow senior got help getting on subsidized housing waitlists by contacting the Resource Centre. What does help from you look like?
A: When we get a senior (or soon-to-be senior) in touch about accessing subsidized housing, there are a few things we can talk about, and help with.
First, we provide context on what is available locally, and where these units are located. When people say they want to “get on the list,” we talk about the three separate application forms necessary to be on the list for all of the Coast options. Why three forms? Because, three umbrella organizations – Kiwanis Seniors Housing Society, Coast Housing Society and BC Housing – individually manage the six or so  addresses (including apartments and townhomes) that make up the Coast’s seniors subsidized housing offerings.

If a person qualifies, the waitlist to move in may be one, two, 10 years long. In one or two cases, I have seen things come up in much less than that, but the main thing we suggest is get on the lists ASAP.

You can decide to apply to one, all or none of the housing providers. In terms of completing the application forms, they can be completed with pen and paper, on the computer using a simple PDF editor program or, for one of the forms, through an online application form.

At the Resource Centre, we can print out or email these forms to you. We can help filling them out in-person, over the phone or online. We can help you navigate tracking down supporting documents like bank statements or making copies of ID required.
If folks want help filling any of these forms, we can schedule one, or a series of appointments to help you with this.  If you have someone in your life good with a pen or computer who may be able to help you at home, that is a good option too!

For seniors with a low to modest income who are renting from a landlord, or planning to rent from a landlord, there is a way to get these costs subsidized. Whether you are renting for the long term, or waiting to get a spot in the subsidized units, look into BC Housing’s subsidy called SAFER (Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters.)
The amount you are eligible for is determined by a number of factors, including the cost of your rent and your income. Amounts can vary, but many receive $100-$200 per month or in some cases more. Even if you change rentals, this subsidy goes with you (as long as you still meet the requirements and jump through whatever hoops BC Housing requires.) Call or email us for info, or check your eligibility with the SAFER calculator: www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/rental-assistance-programs/rap-safer-calculator.

If your motivation to get on the subsidized housing lists is because you are facing eviction and/or at risk of homelessness, please contact us for an appointment to speak to us in more detail about your situation. We can support you with getting on all of the subsidized housing lists and look into how much SAFER would contribute to a future rental, in hopes of bridging the gap. For the immediate future, we can go through options for possible emergency funding, further subsidies, and help you comb rental ads.

We can also connect you to social workers who can act as a support network, as well as community workers who may have access to funding or knowledge of their own. If you are a senior (or any person) facing eviction, and not already in touch with our community legal advocate Ken Carson, it may be in your best interest to do so to be sure you understand your rights. Call Ken at 604-989-5771.

Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub. The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appointments are recommended to be sure we are available to help you. Contact us: help@resourcecentre.ca or 604-885-4088.