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Unique housing project underway for seniors, dementia care patients in Vanderhoof

Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen
Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen

Seniors in need of affordable rental homes and those who require on-site dementia care support will soon benefit from a new development under construction in Vanderhoof.

“This innovative project will not only help more seniors live independently in their community, it will also provide badly needed additional capacity for dementia care,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, in a news release. “We are proud to work with our partners on this development, who share our government’s goal of treating seniors with dignity and respect, part of which is ensuring they have safe and affordable housing.”

Located on 2657 Church Ave., construction is underway on the three-storey building. It will provide 20 one-bedroom rental homes for seniors with low to moderate incomes and eight accessible studio units for dementia care patients.

The project is a partnership between the province (through BC Housing), Northern Health, the District of Vanderhoof, Connexus Community Resources and the Centre for Technology Adoption for Aging in the North.

“This seniors and dementia health housing project is such a positive asset to the Vanderhoof community,” said Gerry Thiessen, mayor, District of Vanderhoof. “Not only will it give us a much-needed supply of one-bedroom apartments, it will also be home to adults suffering with dementia, which will be a significant benefit to the capacity concerns we have faced at St. John Hospital. There are so many who have made this unique-to-B.C. project a success – thanks.”

This project is the first of its kind, where BC Housing has partnered with Northern Health under a residential facility agreement to provide a mix of affordable rental homes for seniors, as well as homes for those who require on-site dementia care support.

This project will not only provide specialized care to residents. It could also help ease the transition for independent seniors who are slowly losing cognitive function and may soon require additional support.

Connexus Community Resources will oversee day-to-day management of the building and will partner with Northern Health nursing staff to provide specialized care for those living with dementia.

“Connexus is thrilled to be part of this new development for older adults. Like many communities, Vanderhoof has a growing demand for more affordable housing, and this new building will enhance the community and provide critical housing,” said Tyrell Arnold, executive director, Connexus Community Resources. “This truly innovative project provides not only more affordable housing, but also a sense of community and belonging to the downtown. Through the partnerships with the District of Vanderhoof, Northern Health and BC Housing, we are pleased to see this this new building take shape.

“We are also excited to see the innovative eight bed dementia care pilot project housed in this new facility. This new care model will be a great addition to the continuum of care available to older adults in our region.”

Residents are expected to move into the building by the end of 2021.

Quick Facts:

* The province is providing a $2-million grant from the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, as well as $5 million in low-interest construction financing for the 20 rental homes. The society will receive an annual subsidy from the Province of approximately $166,000 to operate the housing.

* Northern Health is providing $2 million in capital funding and will provide operating funding for the eight dementia care units.

* The District of Vanderhoof provided the land, valued at approximately $150,000.


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