People call baloney on claim Burnaby seniors project is 'affordable' housing

When I posted a story on Facebook about the opening of the new Fair Haven seniors’ housing project in South Burnaby, I asked a simple question: “Do you consider $1,300/month for one bedroom to be affordable for a low-income senior?”

That’s how much the B.C. government had listed for a one-bedroom unit in the newly opened complex, which is located at 4341 Rumble St. and replaced nine aging duplex cottages. A studio unit goes for $975/month.

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As always, I expect a range of comments from our readers on Facebook (as well as a few trolls). But in this case, there wasn’t a range of comments – it was all a resounding “no.”

“Who are they trying to fool,” asked one person.

Sixty-six people so far have commented on the post and all are saying this isn’t even close to being “affordable” for what the government news release billed as “affordable” housing for “low- to moderate-income” seniors.

affordable burnaby housing

Now, I understand that people can be kind of negative on Facebook, but our readers gave some really thoughtful comments about how tough it is for seniors in a time of skyrocketing rents.

A report in March by the group PadMapper supplied two depressing facts:

  • Burnaby ranked as the third-most expensive rental market in the nation last month, with the prices of one and two bedrooms settling at medians of $1,570 and $2,240, respectively.
  • The price of one bedrooms is up 11 per cent since this time last year.

I remember reading the news release and thinking $1,300 seemed pretty high for seniors on a fixed income during an affordability crisis.

By contrast, my friend’s mom pays $550 at a much-older seniors complex that has received BC Housing funding. The Fair Haven was built through $3 million in BC Housing capital funding and more than $20 million in capital financing.

Look, I’m not trying to be too hard on the BC NDP for this project. I think the party is working hard to get more affordable housing built compared to the previous government.

But readers are calling baloney on this project being “affordable” housing – especially for low-income seniors.

You can follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.


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