Skip to content

Getting Delta seniors the housing they need

Housing has long been identified as a key concern for seniors
The new 152-unit rental apartment building at KinVillage will replace the 86-unit North Court building. File photo

It was a good news announcement recently, but more will be needed to meet a growing need for seniors.

Delta and provincial officials were on hand Aug. 16 to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new seniors’ rental apartment building at KinVillage in Tsawwassen.

To be operated by the KinVillage Association, the 152-unit complex will replace the current 86-unit North Court rental building with current residents at North Court having the option to move into the new facility.

Rents will be a mix of rent geared to income where residents pay 30 per cent of their income for rent, market rates and deep-subsidy rates for people receiving income assistance, according to the province, noting that final rental rates will be determined closer to the new building’s opening.

According to the City of Delta’s Housing Needs Assessment, which helped guide the formation of the city’s new Housing Action Plan, as the population ages, there may be a need for community‐specific efforts to address housing needs geared towards seniors.

The report highlights several challenges including a lack of downsizing opportunities as well as rental affordability for seniors.

The report also identifies housing and support solutions and opportunities for aging in place, including greater density housing forms geared towards seniors, such as condominiums, townhomes, duplexes and fourplexes, that prioritize accessibility.

Other solutions include high quality rental options geared towards seniors, independent living at subsidized rates, assisted living at subsidized and market rates, residential care, at‐home supports and support with modifying existing homes for accessibility.

According to the Housing Action Plan, affordable units that are below market rents are challenging to build because the cost of land and construction can make these projects financially unfeasible or unattractive from an investment standpoint.

Those types of affordability levels are typically provided by non-profit housing providers and require different types of supports and incentives from local governments, as well as from the provincial and federal governments.

The action plan has a series of policy recommendations including incentives for new developments, such as bonus density, to encourage the provision of seniors’ rental or special needs housing.

Delta council last year approved a new bylaw aimed at encouraging more affordable non-profit housing by waiving development cost charges, a recommendation from the action plan.

Among other recommended actions is the city partnering with other levels of government, developers, and non-profit housing providers to expand the availability and variety of affordable/supportive housing for seniors.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, council endorsed a new Social Action Plan, which outlines several strategic priorities including how seniors can be better supported. That report notes that, among other issues, there is an urgent need for more affordable and accessible housing for seniors.

“There are more low-income seniors now. Seniors are having a hard time finding affordable and accessible housing in Delta. In recent consultations on Delta’s Housing Plan, affordable housing for seniors was identified as a key priority…,” the report notes.

Those concerns echoed a report from the Delta Seniors Community Planning Team over a decade ago, which noted seniors were concerned that unless steps were taken to plan for their growing numbers in the future, the housing options and support services needed to help them maintain independence and active lives may not be available.

On another front, the City of Delta, in partnership with LevelUp Planning Collaborative, is preparing an Age-Friendly Community Assessment and Action Plan geared toward older people in the community.