I’m pleased to provide an update on the issues discussed at my recent Seniors’ Spring Tea and Town Hall event in Hope.
Affordability remains a key issue: many local seniors reported a need for affordable housing that is appropriate for different stages of aging, with access to needed supports. Many are also concerned about how they will afford to pay their bills as pensions are not increasing at the same rate as housing, utilities, food and transportation. They noted high gas prices are making it unaffordable to drive to medical appointments.
Seniors also say they are often approached on the streets by homeless individuals and those with mental health issues, and they feel badly that they don’t have resources of their own to be able to help them. They want to see more mental health and housing supports to better care for our most vulnerable.
The entire community joins them in that concern. Recently, I was able to raise this issue again in the Legislature with Health Minister Adrian Dix during debate of his ministry’s budget estimates.
I relayed the news that Fraser Health’s one-time funding for a Mental Health Liaison Nurse and a Substance Use Worker was not sustainable and asked the Minister to consider its request for core funding for these two important positions. He has asked for a bit of time to gather more information and speak with the health authority, and I hope to see a positive outcome.
In the meantime, I applaud Fraser Health and local groups like the Hope and Area Transition Society (HATS), which continues to do a tremendous job of responding to the community’s needs.
I also thank all of the seniors who came to meet me and share their views on how to make Hope a better place to live.