Senior Living Community Proposal Has “Do it Yourself” Funding Approach

Due to a lack of public assistance to build seniors’ apartments, one Canadian nonprofit is taking a “do-it-yourself” approach to solve the area’s senior housing “conundrum.”

For years, the Atikokan Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) has struggled to find a way to develop new apartments for seniors in the Northwestern Ontario town of the same name, Atikokan Progress reports.

With the government “slowly” investing in some assisted living communities for seniors and a lack of public sector options, the AEDC has invited seniors to participate in a not-for-profit housing corporation that would design, build and maintain a 24-unit facility for seniors.

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Seniors who wish to live in this proposed community would have to buy a share of the housing corporation, which the article notes will likely cost about $25,000. 

After paying this fee, seniors moving into the apartment would be required to pay a monthly fee estimated at $1,200 that would help pay down building costs, as well as cover ongoing maintenance costs and property taxes. 

As part owners of the project, seniors would have a direct say in its design and operation, according to Atikokan Progress.

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“We have looked everywhere, and have gotten nowhere with the public sector options,” said AEDC Director Garry McKinnon in the article. “There are no white knights.”

Part of this lack of assistance could be that developers are concerned with receiving an immediate return on their investment, which is why condominiums have become so prevalent in urban areas, writes the article. 

But in most small Canadian cities, the average price of a home ranges anywhere between $300,000 to $400,000.

And in the Atikokan town of 2,787 residents, where the average price is well under $100,000, the article notes there are few who are interested in spending a quarter of a million dollars for a one-bedroom condo.

As a result of discussions with Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) officials, McKinnon believes it will take at least $600,000 for CMHC to guarantee a mortgage for a 24-unit building.

Additionally, McKinnon says there are already 34 respondents who indicated they were prepared to shell out the cash for proposal. 

The AEDC will host a meeting April 30 to provide more detail about its proposal, and hopes to have several experts on hand to discuss the deal’s mechanics.

Read the Atikokan Progress article.

Written by Jason Oliva