Budget 2009 will provide $400 million over two years to build housing for low income seniors to be delivered through the Affordable Housing Initiative to be cost-shared with the provinces. These cost sharing agreements already exist to provide low income housing but this should be money targeted at project for seniors.
The greater need in seniors’ housing, however, is supportive services which is not a bricks and mortar issue but requires the cooperation of the health or social services ministries. More assisted living units would be made available if existing stock could be retrofitted and the money applied to the supportive services.
A few of the provinces have integrated programs to provide for assisted housing units and this new money should be available to spur on those programs. There is an opportunity for national standards of design and supportive services to be negotiated with the cost sharing agreements.