NDP vows to tackle deferred maintenance of seniors lodges

Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson says confronting deferred maintenance repairs of seniors lodges and housing is a priority for the province.

Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson says confronting deferred maintenance repairs of seniors lodges and housing is a priority for the province.

Sigurdson said more than $238 million will be put towards addressing the $1 billion-backlog of maintenance and repairs inherited from the previous government.

“Most housing units are at least 30 years old, and in the cases of senior lodges many are 40 or more years old,” said Sigurdson, who spoke to members of the Alberta Seniors Communities & Housing Association convention held at Sheraton Red Deer on Tuesday.

The NDP government recently committed $1.2 billion over the next five years in affordable housing and seniors lodges as part of its new fiscal plan, but others want to turn back the clock and are calling for extreme and reckless cuts that will make a bad situation worse, she said.

“They are proposing billions of dollars in cuts to front-line services, no new schools, no new hospitals, no new roads, no plan to open up new markets and no investments for housing or seniors. The government sees things differently. This government believes it’s time to invest and we’re doing just that.”

She said the province is also investing $581 million into the major replacement and renewal of existing social housing and seniors lodges.

“(Seniors’) contributions to our province was enormous. They worked hard and played by the rules to save up a little nest egg that they could retire on, carefully calculating every nickle and dime to make ends meet. But many of them can’t find an affordable, safe place to age in community, especially in these economic times.”

Another $60 million has been allocated for fire and safety system upgrades for 6,600 senior lodges and continuing care units across the province, with $30 million of that money to be invested this year, she said.

On Tuesday, Sigurdson announced the continuation of a $150,000 grant to the Alberta Seniors Communities & Housing Association (ASCHA) for its online seniors housing directory, regional collaboration, education, sharing best practices and to optimize utilization.

ASCHA members provide housing to over 30,000 seniors that includes independent living, supportive living and designated supportive living offered by the voluntary, public and private sectors.

Raymond Swonek, ASCHA president, said a two per cent increase to the lodge assistance program grant this year was another piece of good news in the new provincial budget. There hasn’t been an increase for about four years.

And the government’s capital investment is huge, he said.

“That’s going to really help our organizations improve the condition for seniors in their communities and build more capacity, more affordable housing for seniors in the communities,” Swonek said.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Report: China is driving use of armed drones in Middle East

BEIRUT — The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven… Continue reading

Canadian home sales fall for a 3rd month; new listings also down: CREA

OTTAWA — Home sales across the country fell for a third month… Continue reading

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

‘Are we going to play?’ Alberta boy with rare illness no big deal for classmates

ONOWAY, Alta. — Four-year-old Porter Stanley has some new pals at preschool.… Continue reading

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. — A rally in support of Alberta’s oil industry… Continue reading

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

NEW YORK — Racial justice. Obstruction of justice. Social justice. The Justice… Continue reading

Man who demolished landmark house ordered to build replica

SAN FRANCISCO — A man who illegally demolished a San Francisco house… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘Over my dead body’ will Mueller interview Trump

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval… Continue reading

Quebecers criticize western oil but buying more gasoline, SUVs, bigger homes: report

MONTREAL — Quebec’s premier is quick to reject “dirty” oil from Western… Continue reading

Speaker Geoff Regan opens the door to his apartment in Parliament

OTTAWA — One of the best-kept secrets inside the main building on… Continue reading

Baloo the cat is back at home after being mistakenly shipped to Montreal

HALIFAX — Much to the relief of his loving family, Baloo the… Continue reading

‘It’s what we do’: Famous Newfoundlanders help replace veteran’s stolen guitar

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Two famous Newfoundlanders stepped in to help an… Continue reading

Quebec’s anti-corruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is… Continue reading

Most Read