Home. At its most fundamental, it's a sense of place. Where your apartment isn't "just" an apartment, but a place you feel proud to call home. It's community. It's social when you want, like your morning ritual coffee with neighbours, active as you wish, think a spirited game of bocce, or serene when you crave quiet, like the peaceful pleasure of tending to your garden plot.
North Vancouver's Lynn Woods at 2551 Whiteley Court is all this, and more.
Kiwanis North Shore Housing Society (KNSHS) has been providing these experiences—empowering seniors to live their best life independently—for more than 70 years.
To retire affordably in high-quality housing has been one of Greater Vancouver's seemingly insurmountable challenges.
However, KNSHS continues to move the needle in the right direction while strengthening community connections with affordable housing options. Lynn Woods is their latest example of delivering a renewed sense of belonging to seniors in below-market rental housing, a pillar of their developments in both North and West Vancouver.
"This project is partially funded by BC Housing and is a collaborative partnership with the District of North Vancouver and Kiwanis North Shore Housing Society," says Stefan Baune, executive director, KNSHS. "It's part of a bigger province-wide plan to address housing shortages and housing affordability in the province at large."
Baune explains that Lynn Woods is part of the Community Housing Plan program. "Under this program, non-profit organizations have an opportunity to develop affordable housing with three tiers of income for their renters. So, there's a tiny percent of units that are deep subsidy, rented for $375/month."
Allocation of units is structured for mixed-income level households. Out of 106 one-bedroom units, 53 units (50%) have been rented to residents who pay 30% of their income for rent, and 30% of units are market rental units.
"32 units are earmarked for tenants who have income between $57,000 and $77, 000, so suites are priced at $1,570/month, which is slightly over the average rent in the District of North Vancouver, according to CMHC research," reveals Baune.
"In addition, the District of North Vancouver’s Council has adopted a motion to reduce the minimum age requirement for the 53 RGI units, and the 32 Market-Rent units to 55 and older. This opens up the units to a larger pool of applicants, especially individuals or couples in their early 50s who are still working and looking for an affordable rental unit in Lynn Valley." Baune adds.
"However, if you look at the development that we're offering, $1,570 for a one-bedroom spacious unit is still far below what you would typically pay in this area for a new product."
Comfortable and contemporary living
The entire building is designed exclusively with seniors in mind. You'll not only find senior-specific elements within the units but in all the common areas, too. For example, there are extra wide hallways which allow walkers to pass unencumbered.
Units are adaptable to seniors' needs and average 579 square feet, including a large in-suite storage room. "We have thought a lot about design material and layout for people with mobility aids," says Baune. "Entryways and bathrooms are designed for easy access with a walker."
Bathrooms are large with a wide turning radius, and spacious showers have either a built-in seat or pull-down bench. There's no tub by design, convenient for people with or without mobility issues. Plus, there are a minimum of two grab bars within reach wherever you are in the space.
Natural light streams through floor-to-ceiling windows, filling your open-concept living room/dining room and functional, spacious kitchen. Balconies (or patios) provide an inviting refuge to relax or entertain.
Building & community amenities
There's no shortage of building amenities to make your life easy and enjoyable, including two elevators, in-suite storage, a bike and scooter storage room, and community garden. Both underground parking and basement storage lockers are available for additional fees. The arts room and great hall with fireplace and TV are welcoming social spaces.
Lynn Woods is in close proximity to transit and Lynn Valley Centre with the shopping mall, public library, health-care services and restaurants all within walking distance.
"We intend to dedicate our services as a housing owner and operator—doing business for a purpose," says Baune. "Housing is an integral part of our mission, but it’s not everything. Our organization is trying to reach out and be part of a broader community that allows tenants to not just enjoy and enrich their lives, but for Kiwanis to do our part of service to our community."
For more information, visit kiwanisnorthshorehousing.org.