March 2024 Seniors, Housing and Safety Report

By Sheila Pepper, Seniors, Housing and Safety Convenor

Housing: I attended the Intersectional Housing Agenda Organization meeting on February 13th, also attended by Beryl Matthewson and many others. The Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network, the Indigenous Women’s Housing Network, the Pan Canadian Voice for Women’s Housing, and the National Right to Housing Network were all represented.

The discussion repeated the urgent need for more affordable, accessible, available and non- discriminatory housing for women. The ‘Financialization of Housing’ was another aspect discussed. The YM/WCAs across Canada address Social Housing and contribute many of their buildings to it.

We recalled the innovative housing models, such as NORC’s, Oasis, PAL, co-op and co-housing, and new ones, such as tiny and converted containers for homes. Khulud Baig said ”There’s a gendered crisis” in housing, “and all stakeholders should be ‘at the table’ where policy is made”.

There are 15 Calls to Action regarding immediate, medium term (2 to 5 years) and longer term (5 to 7 years) needs for this type of housing. Many organizations and individuals have written  to various levels of government over the last years to address these housing needs, and 1,200 did recently, they reported!

“Ninety national organizations, networks, grassroots and community groups, advocates and individuals” have endorsed these Calls to Action. I reconnected with the local ‘127 Housing Society’ recently. They have three apartment buildings in Vancouver, housing 355 mainly low income seniors, including a community worker in each building.

Seniors and Safety: Since my last report, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) aspects of communication for all seniors’ issues have been discussed in the media and at meetings.
So much electronic communication is changing so rapidly, it’s difficult for seniors to learn how to protect themselves from scams, false news and reports, and claims of many organizations and companies they may need to access. We need younger ‘navigators’ in this field, to help protect us from many types of confusing intrusions into our lives. Contact your MP, MLA and Councillors to help protect BC seniors from the new, ever innovating dangers to our mental and physical health.