By Sheila Pepper, Housing and Safety Convenor
We are pleased to see initiatives for upgrading, repairing and building new affordable, supportive housing in the Greater Vancouver area. The various city and provincial government departments are better coordinated and committed to solving this urgent problem.
So many more migrants, immigrants, foreign students and homeless people need accommodation in the areas around Vancouver. Monthly rental prices for even smaller apartments and condos have risen dramatically over the last five years in particular, and in the last three decades in general. Many laneway small homes have had City approvals, finally, and many more need to be built in our densely populated downtowns.
Foreign students come to our cities for the fall to spring education institution years in particular, and their situation is critical, as is the situation for the many newly homeless families, youth and singles coming to our area every year. We have been pleased to see so many churches committed to social housing on their attached parking lots and lands. Hopefully, the various city and provincial authorities in charge will improve and streamline the approval processes for building new accommodation for these groups; they have promised to do so.
Safety has always been a concern for us all, particularly for vulnerable populations such as women, children, youth and seniors. Many of us are well aware of the various risks and can prepare ourselves and our families for most of them. When on our streets and in public transportation, we can protect our belongings and our bodies with careful planning and preparation. Courses are available, in person at community centre and educational institutions and online.
Seniors are now more aware of concerns for their health, housing situations, community connections and safety than in decades past. For example, we used to hitchhike with confidence when we were young, but that changed dramatically in the 1970’s and since. Many aspects of seniors’ lives have changed in recent decades and we are more aware of the urgency in cases of our health, fitness, continuing education and training in many aspects of survival than our parents seemed to be concerned with.