The North Island Seniors Housing Foundation (NISHF) is expecting big news any day now.
Gord Patterson, NISHF chairperson, posted on the foundation’s Facebook page on Friday, May 14, stating that while it has yet to receive the go-ahead to start building, “we are overwhelmed by the support North Island peoples have expressed for Phase 1 of this needed seniors and elders housing project.”
Patterson continued, stating that BC Housing is presently in the process of “evaluating all January 2021 provincial housing proposals and will be announcing shortly whether or not they will be funding the North Island Seniors Housing project. All requests will be given a ranking score to be forwarded to the minister for review. Local regional, federal, provincial support is essential. It will then be up to the minister’s office, assisted local MLA support to make the final determination to announce which community projects will be funded… We are grateful to those who have shared an opinion to our provincial and federal representatives in support of our housing development. We believe our local seniors and elders’ interests are deserving of provincial housing funding. In this regard ‘community support’ as voiced by you is so vital in such matters.”
Patterson concluded by saying that North Island communities “are wonderful, made even better by our natural multicultural environment, an inter-agency willingness to work together, generosity of business individuals and community groups, volunteerism, and the grace & presence of our senior citizens. Our pioneers have given us so much.”
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The NISHF has been working on plans for seniors’ housing in Port Hardy for four years, since it was formed at Patterson’s kitchen table in 2016. A group of mostly retired business people were frustrated seeing seniors in need move away.
Since then they have garnered strong support from the community. Eight acres of land beside the North Island Mall in Port Hardy has been reserved for the project. They are hoping to break ground sometime this year.
NISHF applied to be funded by B.C.’s Community Housing Fund (CHF), part of the government’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan announced in 2018.
The CHF website states that applying projects must offer mixed rental rates, with 20 per cent of the units reserved for “very low incomes,” 50 per cent for incomes up to $64,000, and 30 per cent for households with incomes up to $74,000.
Applications to live in the facility can already be submitted. A panel from the Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction, Vancouver Island Health Authority and other stakeholders will review applicants.
There is no assisted living seniors’ housing currently in Port Hardy, so the elderly who require extra help are forced to move away.
– with files from Zoe Ducklow