By Andru McCracken

The results of a survey show there is clearly a need for more local housing for seniors.

Spirited Exchanges consultant Rashmi Narayan tabulated the results of a recent survey, and according to the data there is more than enough demand now to build six single bedroom units and six two bedroom units. But in total there are 48 residents who expressed that they will be looking for rental accommodation in the not too distant future.

“It makes sense to plan at least 12 independent units in this first phase,” said Narayan.

She said based on comments provided it would make sense to create independent units with a common space for meals, socializing and hobbies with a gardening area.

Narayan said many seniors want support services, even those that would prefer to own their own housing.

“Most future residents preferred independent units with services ranging from meals, opportunities for socializing, and housekeeping to living in an assisted living facility,” she said.

Narayan said the majority of seniors prefer rentals to owned units.

For president of the Valemount Senior Citizens Housing Society, Dee McEachern, identifying the need is a good start, but the society is in a tough position to get things moving.

McEachern said the volunteer board and their part-time employee don’t have the resources to do the project on their own, and funding to hire someone to develop the plan isn’t there.

“We actually need to hire a person to be the go-getter behind all of this. And yet, we have to have the money to do that. And if you don’t have a plan in place, then you can’t really proceed, then there needs to be another study done…,” said McEachern. “It just seems to be a vicious circle that is keeping us from getting something done.”

Narayan said there may be solutions..

“It seems daunting for someone who thinks they have to do it all on their own, but I don’t think you have to know how to do it yourself. I go to a mechanic to fix my car. I don’t fix my car myself. And this is no different,” she said.

“I think it’s about identifying it as a priority and determining the next steps about how to make it happen.”

Narayan says housing experts are there to help, and there are also avenues for funding.