VANCOUVER (September 22, 2022) – Following the release of a troubling new report from B.C.’s Seniors Advocate that highlights the failures of David Eby and the NDP to build enough affordable housing for seniors or provide them with adequate relief from rising rents, the BC Liberals are calling on the NDP government to take immediate action and better support seniors in the face of the worsening affordability crisis.
“The new report from the Seniors Advocate makes it clear that tens of thousands of seniors in our province are struggling to make ends meet and record inflation and the skyrocketing price of necessities like housing, food, and fuel are only making matters worse,” said Shirley Bond, BC Liberal Critic for Seniors Services and Long-Term Care. “Seniors deserve to age with dignity, but the unfortunate reality is that they are falling through the cracks. The overlapping crises of the past few years — affordability, housing, health care, and the pandemic — all disproportionately impacted seniors, and yet this government has failed to take any significant action to ensure that older British Columbians are properly supported. The NDP must take this report seriously and make the changes that are desperately needed to provide the care that B.C.’s seniors need and deserve”
The report, BC Seniors: Falling Further Behind, found that 45 per cent of B.C. seniors have an income below minimum wage and 84 per cent of low-income seniors report running out of money for groceries some of the time. Housing is an area of particular concern, with fewer seniors receiving Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) benefits from the NDP, while a majority are stuck in apartments they cannot afford. Additionally, while rents have continued to rise, the average SAFER subsidy has decreased in the past four years. We are also witnessing the drastic consequences of David Eby’s failure to build supportive housing, with seniors now waiting an average of three years for supportive housing and 17 per cent of people waiting more than five years.
“From the health care crisis to the housing crisis, B.C.’s seniors have faced growing challenges over the last few years. Unfortunately, David Eby and the NDP have neglected the issues facing seniors — particularly when it comes to housing,” said Peter Milobar, BC Liberal Critic for Finance. “Programs like SAFER have not been adapted to address the current circumstances and are failing to meet the needs of seniors. It is hard to understand how the NDP could sit on billions in surpluses and contingencies while thousands of seniors struggle to afford groceries. Government must listen to the Seniors Advocate’s advice and provide greater supports for seniors — this cannot be yet another report whose recommendations the NDP dismisses and ignores.”