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Local seniors housing body calls for government action

Number of unresolved issues, concerns that need to be addressed as part of 2022 province budget consultations
MVT stock Mount View Lodge 1
Mountain View Seniors' Housing operates seniors lodges in Carstairs, Olds, Didsbury and Sundre. File photo/MVP Staff

CARSTAIRS - Mountain View Seniors' Housing (MVSH) is calling on the provincial government to make a number of changes aimed at supporting lodge residents, including as it relates to income support.

MVSH operates seniors lodges in Carstairs, Olds, Didsbury and Sundre. Area municipalities support MVSH through annual requisitions.

In a recent letter sent to the provincial Ministry of Treasury Board and Finance, MVSH board chair Heather Ryan said there are a number of unresolved issues and concerns that need to be addressed as part of 2022 province budget consultations.

“We are writing today to express concern with issues that currently remain unresolved regarding seniors and community housing in Alberta,” said Ryan, who is also a Town of Olds councillor. 

In the letter Ryan identifies a number of specific areas of concern and calls for action:

• Alberta Seniors Benefits (ASB) should be provided to all seniors who qualify. Currently Alberta lodge residents are excluded form eligibility for ASB whereas seniors not living in the lodge are eligible.

• Price controls in the Alberta Lodge Program are prohibitive to HMB (housing management body) operations to be able to have sufficient revenues to balance budgets and operate with consideration to annual price increase and external factors. 

• The price constrains for the Alberta Lodge Program should be raised to sufficient levels to reflect the current cost to operate and have been unnecessarily restricted to nominal increases for many years so there is a considerable gap in having revenues to match the costs each year.

• Guaranteed disposable income for Alberta lodge residents  is not regularly increased and is insufficient to meet the income support needs for seniors on low and fixed incomes.

“We wish to be collaborative since we have the common goal of serving our seniors,” she said. “We jointly serve our aging population of Albertans, and we commit to making ourselves available to discuss this further.”

The letter was received by the Town of Carstairs council as information at last week's council meeting. It was also sent to area MLAs Nathan Cooper and Jason Nixon as well as others.