Skip to content

Seniors housing forum coming to Maple Ridge

Organizers want to ensure voices of older adults who live in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are heard
Ernie Daykin, president of the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie Seniors Network, stood in a unit under renovation at Maple Towers, a subsidized seniors rental housing community in Maple Ridge. (The News files)

Affordable housing for seniors will be in the spotlight at an upcoming forum in Maple Ridge with outgoing BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie as the keynote speaker.

Mackenzie will be talking about the challenges of aging well in the community with a lack of affordable housing and inadequate home-care supports – problems that exist across the province.

Organizers are hoping the forum – which they promise will take a hard look at where the greatest needs are and how to bring together key stakeholders to focus on partnership building and actionable short and long-term solutions – will make sure the voices of older adults who live in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are heard when it comes to discussions about the key housing needs.

Anxiety is growing among low- to middle-income seniors who find themselves “precariously housed,” explained seniors network president Ernie Daykin.

“While this problem is not unique to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, we are looking for homegrown solutions and to ensure our communities are the most prepared to support new affordable rental housing developments,” he noted.

According to a 2023 report by the United Way of British Columbia called Aging in Uncertainty: The Growing Housing Crisis for BC Seniors, in the five years from 2017-2022 the seniors population in the province increased by 20 per cent, while seniors subsidized housing units grew by just 0.1 per cent, and subsidized housing units saw a 6 per cent decrease. The seniors subsidized housing wait list grew by 45 per cent over the same period.

Frontline workers like Ashley Isaac, case manager with the Maple Ridge Rent Bank, are now sounding the alarm that homelessness among low-income seniors is reaching a crisis.

“It is so hard to see the growing number of seniors who are unsheltered, living in their car, living in a leaky basement suite, or one or two months away from being evicted,” said Isaac. “Not having resources to offer these people is heartbreaking.”

To further exasperate the situation, some seniors have added demands of taking care of an ailing spouse, requiring expensive modifications to their home to make it accessible. Or when one partner moves into full-time care, the couple’s pension income is split, and the remaining spouse may not be able to afford to stay in their home.

Annette Morgan with the Seniors Housing Task Group noted there is little affordable support available for senior caregivers.

ALSO: Seniors in rural B.C. have worse access to health care and housing

“So often caregivers are running themselves ragged risking their own health to care for their partner in order to keep them at home,” said Morgan, who will be participating in a panel discussion at the forum with Isaac.

Other panelists will include: Maple Ridge Mayor Dan Ruimy; Pitt Meadows Mayor Nicole MacDonald; Columbus Charities Association Chief Operations Officer Mike Garisto; and More Than a Roof Chief Operating Officer Jim Loney.

The Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Katzie, Seniors Network is hosting the Seniors Affordable Housing Partnership Forum from 9:30-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6 at the ACT Arts Centre, 11944 Haney Place in Maple Ridge.

RELATED: Free speculation and vacancy tax clinic for seniors in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Daykin is proud that the local seniors network is tackling this issue “head on.”

“There is nothing to be gained from standing around pointing fingers at each other. This is our opportunity to bring all of our resources and ideas to the table and most importantly, to listen to the seniors this issue most directly affects.”

For more information on the Seniors Affordable Housing Partnership Forum, or to register for the event, contact Heather Treleaven, executive director for the seniors network at 604-786-7404 or email:

The Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie, Seniors Network is a registered society led by seniors for seniors. Formed in 2008, the members work collaboratively with the community to identify program and service gaps and to develop initiatives and programs to improve the health and well-being of older adults in the community. For more information go to:

About the Author: Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows News Staff

Read more