Sudbury Chapter: Seniors call for affordable housing

Click here to read ‘Seniors call for affordable housing‘ -The Sudbury, December 28, 2015

There is a need for low-income housing for seniors in the city, Friendly to Seniors Sudbury and the Sudbury Chapter of The Canadian Association of Retired Persons say in a report.

The report, compiled with the help of city staff, the Social Planning Council and Sudbury builders, is based on focus groups, formal and informal surveys, and special meetings.

“As our population continues to age and increase in number, this subject is of considerable importance and deserves the attention of our local elected representatives, municipal, provincial and federal,” according to the report.

“There is a demonstrated need for low-income housing for all ages but especially for older adults, particularly disadvantaged single women who are at risk of actually becoming homeless unable to afford suitable or any accommodation. A number already report having a hard time making ends meet and having real difficulty in paying for rent, utilities and food plus other necessities.”

The report said older adults want to maintain their independence.

“The majority of older adults want to stay independent in their own home as long as possible and resist moving into retirement residences, which can be quite expensive, or a nursing home unless absolutely necessary,” the report said.

The report found many older adults, with modest homes, cannot afford to move from their present residence to a newer one due to the spread between what they could sell their present accommodation buy a new property, whether it’s a condo, detached home, duplex or townhouse.

The difference in many cases could be as much or more than $200,000, the report said.

As a result, most are electing to renovate their present home or move to an apartment where they are willing, on average, to pay $1,000 to $1,600 a month. Some seniors indicate they would move to other areas where housing costs are lower than in Sudbury.

Most would consider moving and downsizing to a residence that meets their needs, “but only if such a home could be priced at no more than what they could expect to sell their present accommodation or in the range of not more than $250,000.

“We know of other communities where similar residences are renting for about $1,200 a month including utilities. There is some doubt among Sudbury builders if this would be possible in this community.”

The report also said the city and its builders need to pay attention to the needs of older adults when considering the location of housing for seniors. This includes:

building close to amenities, shopping and services, or have them provided on site;

if not single units on grade (no steps), apartment buildings with elevators are essential; and

locate apartments in the downtown area, either in renovated properties with elevators, or in new buildings.