NEWS, INITIATIVES AND EVENTS
2021 Municipal Requisition
The conjunction of major unforeseen expenditures has required a larger-than-normal requisition, with some implications for future years as well. In 2020 we spent $841,000 to safeguard our licensed supportive living residents and employees in emergency response to Covid-19. We expect to spend another $690,000 in 2021 to continue to do so. Earlier the year we committed $1.2 million ($1 million of which was funded with pre-existing reserves) on short notice to the development and commissioning of the coming 60-bed DSL facility to ensure the building would be able to serve the region’s vulnerable seniors appropriately for decades to come. These projects emptied our operating and asset development reserves and cut into our asset maintenance fund, but they allowed us to:
• Achieve a 100% successful defence of our licensed supportive living facilities against Covid-19 in 2020. We will continue with the winning strategies in 2021.
• Keep the DSL facility project alive and fully capitalize on the Government of Alberta’s investment of $30 million in our Campus of Care in Canmore. In 2022 we will open the 60-bed Level 4/Dementia Supportive Living facility that will serve some of the region’s most vulnerable seniors for decades to come.
• Safeguard operational continuity with an operating reserve, which proved critical to our ability to respond to the pandemic in 2020.
We will balance the financial risk to the organization with the burden on our stakeholders by spreading the financial costs out over 2021 and future years.
Rent Supplement Program
The Government of Alberta has redesigned the program since they paused it in October 2019. As of April 1, 2021 the program is reopen to new applications and we are happy to say that our budget has been renewed at levels that are essentially unchanged. We will be adding new clients to the program over the next month.
As Alberta’s vaccine rollout celebrates its 1,000,000th dose, we all continue to have a critical role in keeping ourselves and others safe from Covid-19, particularly with the spread of the more transmissible and now dominant Variants of Concern. Cases of Covid-19 are surging again, with more than 17,000 active detected cases in Alberta, including nearly 200 in our region. Tragically more than 2,000 Albertans have died, most of whom were seniors, but fortunately over the past weeks the number of deaths has dropped dramatically.
We are all very tired of Covid-19, and yet we still have work to do. We all must continue to stay the course for the sake of our vulnerable people and healthcare system. We will beat this virus sooner if we work together and protect each other.
Unfortunately, the variants of concerns are driving infections, so it is more important than ever to exercise good infection prevention and control. Fortunately, every willing and able resident and staff member in Alberta’s Long-Term Care and Designated Supportive Living facilities
have been immunized, as have 97% of BVRH’s lodge residents and 85% of our lodge employees! Thank you, Governments of Canada and Alberta, AHS, Pfizer and Moderna for protecting our people. Some of our employees are still waiting for their shots, but we rest much easier knowing that most of our lodge residents have achieved peak immunity.
Alberta remains under stricter measures to avoid exponential growth in cases and overwhelming our health system. People over 60 years of age and those with certain pre-existing health conditions are the most at risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19, especially when they live in close proximity as occurs in seniors’ congregate living.
Designated Supportive Living Operations Planning
Senior management continue to work on the operating model in collaboration with Alberta Health Services and other relevant professionals ahead of operations following the construction of Phase 2. Since every party to this planning has been rocked by the COVID pandemic, progress has been slow, but we have enough time to get everything in place.
PROGRAM OCCUPANCY RATES
Bow River Lodge 99%
Cascade House 74%
Bow River Homes 100%
Mount Edith House 100%
Community Housing 100%
Rent Supplement 100%
This is Home (Phase 2)
Meanwhile, construction of the long-anticipated designated supportive living facility continues. The picture shown here shows the progress.
Schedule: Clark Builders continues to work with the province and Marshall Tittimore Architects on the design and construction planning of the 60 bed DSL4/D facility. Demolition of the old lodge is complete, having made way for the new building, while leaving the newer southeast wing in place for future use. That building, the southeast wing has been established as a stand-alone building now. Expect substantial completion in Q4 2021, followed by commissioning.
Design: This facility has been designed to meet the needs of designated supportive living level 4 and dementia operations, including enhanced safety and care-provision considerations. We can expect to have to add enhanced infection prevention and control safeguards as the lessons of COVID take hold.
Economics: The current capital cost is $17.2 million; the Government of Alberta has committed $16.3 million to date. BVRH has agreed to contribute the remaining 5% of the capital budget (up to a maximum of $900,000) to keep the project viable.
• In an emergency, please dial 911.
• For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information for Albertans information on diseases, treatments, staying well, and healthcare services dial 811.
• For 24/7 community program & service information, including affordability programming for the Bow Valley dial 211.
ABOUT BOW VALLEY REGIONAL HOUSING
Bow Valley Regional Housing (BVRH) is a Housing Management Body (HMB) serving the Government of Alberta and the Bow Valley Region. HMB operational funding sources vary. Tenants pay accommodation fees. Those fees are subject to affordability limits, which prevents them from fully covering the costs of operations. Provincial grants and municipal ratepayer requisitions subsidize seniors lodge deficits, while the Province also subsidizes deficits in independent seniors and community housing.
As the HMB for the Bow Valley region, BVRH is responsible for social housing, as well as affordable supportive living accommodation for seniors throughout Kananaskis Country, the Bow Corridor, the MD of Bighorn and all of Banff National Park, an area covering about 13,500 square kilometres.
All told, we currently house, or help to house approximately 400 residents of the Bow Valley in eight permanent housing projects encompassing 36 separate buildings.