NEWS, INITIATIVES AND EVENTS
COVID-19 – IMPORTANT UPDATE
Alberta’s vaccine rollout has surpassed 5.5 million doses, but again we must keep ourselves and others, especially seniors, safe. The 4th wave is driving rapid growth in infection due to the Delta variant.
Sadly, cases are now surging in senior age groups with new case counts higher than during the 3rd wave. This is very troubling, but thankfully the government of Alberta is going to provide much needed booster shots to better protect our seniors soon – please get a booster as soon as you are eligible. The booster is very important to seniors because the Delta variant of the virus has significantly reduced the level of protection provided by the previous vaccinations. We are in touch with the public health authorities and will update you about the boosters as soon as we know more.
The province is starting to see a rise of cases in supportive living facilities – the number of seniors lodges with outbreaks has more than doubled in the past week so please help us protect our seniors by being careful around them and getting vaccinated. While some people who receive both doses will become infected, most infected people have NOT been fully vaccinated. Furthermore, those who are fully vaccinated can spread the virus to others but are less likely to develop severe symptoms.
With Phase 1 of the provincial continuing care easing plan, most of our precautionary measures have been lifted and can’t be reinstated, so it is critical to stay out of lodges if you have any symptoms or contact with positive cases. If you are not vaccinated, please visit outside, rather than risk unknowingly bringing the virus into the lodge. Help protect our seniors – stay away if sick, get vaccinated and wear a mask when in their presence.
There are approximately 11,500 active detected cases currently in Alberta, with more than 125 cases in our region. Tragically more than 2,370 Albertans have died, and though the rate of deaths had slowed dramatically, it is rising once again.
Designated Supportive Living Operations Planning
Senior management continues to work on the operating model in collaboration with Alberta Health Services and other relevant professionals ahead of operations following construction of Phase 2.
PROGRAM OCCUPANCY RATES
Bow River Lodge 89%
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 designated supportive living facility continues. The picture 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 in 2022.
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.
We are a Housing Management Body (HMB) created by the Government of Alberta. Alberta’s HMBs operate and administer provincially owned social housing facilities and programming. The province holds an extensive portfolio of these facilities through the Alberta Social Housing Corporation (ASHC) that serves many needy and vulnerable Albertans. Each HMB is a not-for-profit self-governing corporation under the Alberta Housing Act that manages ASHC assets in their respective region. HMBs may operate various housing programs and own facilities.
Every municipality in Alberta is a contributing member of their regional HMB and is required to have at least one appointee serving on the governing board The HMB board members are responsible for acting in the best interests of the entire region. HMB’s function as property managers for the province, often working to address relevant housing needs in their region.
HMB operational funding sources can vary somewhat. Tenants pay accommodation fees, which are usually subject to affordability limits. These limits often lead to operating deficits by constricting the ability to collect enough fees to cover the full costs of operations. Provincial grants and municipal requisitions subsidize seniors’ lodge deficits, whereas the province alone funds deficits in independent seniors and community housing programs.
As the HMB for the Bow Valley region, BVRH is responsible for social housing and affordable supportive living accommodation for seniors throughout Kananaskis Country, the Bow Corridor, the MD of Bighorn and all of Banff National Park. The region covers an area of 13,500 square kilometres that has two towns and seven hamlets that contain approximately 25,000 people. Our five contributing municipalities are Kananaskis ID, MD of Bighorn, Town of Canmore, Town of Banff and Banff National Park ID9. The people of the region can access the programs we offer, subject to eligibility requirements.
We are an independent body that collaborates with two provincial ministries, five municipal governments, numerous agencies in our community and provincial organizations to provide and promote safe and appropriate housing in our region.
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
Bow Valley Regional Housing commits to provide accommodation services for the Bow Valley region seniors and residents of modest means who struggle to secure and maintain appropriate housing.
We provide housing-related programs to approximately four hundred residents in the Bow Valley region, delivered through our four programs. These programs are housed across seven properties in Banff and Canmore that contain a total of thirty-four separate buildings, twenty of which are stand-alone residential houses.
Our projects include:
• Seniors’ lodges in Canmore and Banff that provide room and board to the residents of our 85 suites.
o Phase 2 of our This is Home project will open in 2022 to deliver designated supportive living to the region through sixty 24-hour care suites that will provide appropriate accommodations to our vulnerable seniors while alleviating pressures on local hospitals.
• Seniors’ self-contained independent housing buildings in Canmore and Banff that include a total of 62 one-bedroom apartments.
• Family housing residences in Canmore that include 38 townhouses and 20 houses.
• Rent Supplement Programs that currently provide financial assistance to approximately 35 households in the Bow Valley.
• Planning is underway for the conversion of a 15-suite lodge wing into independent seniors’ self-contained housing for low-income seniors.
• Planning is underway for the re-profiling of a part of the Bow River Lodge site to increase the number of senior’s self-contained suites while adding other affordable housing options.
OUR VISION STATEMENT
Bow Valley Regional Housing aspires to collaborate with relevant entities to ensure that suitable programming that will mitigate the housing needs of our client base is available. We will:
• Make decisions and recommendations using relevant and valid data regarding community trends and housing needs.
• Obtain funding to develop infrastructure that meets identified needs for social and senior’s affordable housing programs.
• Embrace operating principles that incorporate innovation, service excellence and best practices.
• Attract and retain highly qualified and caring staff.
The BVRH team includes approximately forty employees, based at Bow River Seniors Lodge in Canmore, and Cascade House in Banff. Our Central Administration and Maintenance Teams are based in Canmore but serve all our projects. We have dedicated Housekeeping and Food Service Teams at each of our two seniors’ lodges.
Client-focus, empathy, caring, commitment to quality and a guiding philosophy of serving our clients in their homes.
INTEGRITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
High ethics, professionalism, transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness.
Sustainability, innovation, versatility, collaboration, communication, vision and resourcefulness.
More information is available on our website at www.bvrh.ca