The 33,500 square foot Snug Cove House seniors’ residence is planned, the Miller Road building site largely ready for construction and all services are connected. Over the years, Bowen Islanders have contributed time and money to support the idea of a residence that will give the island’s elder citizens the choice of enjoying supportive housing on Bowen rather than leaving their friends, neighbours and community. The non-profit group leading this initiative is Snug Cove House Society (SCHS).
In 2004, the society received donations from almost every Bowen household to buy land. Keeping the new building’s footprint small allowed SCHS to sell the rest of that land, raising $3 million of the $12 million needed to build Snug Cove House.
Last year, SCHS applied to BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund which would have provided both construction funds and continuing subsidies to allow rents to be more affordable. This application was unsuccessful, likely (BC Housing doesn’t give reasons for rejection) because the Community Housing Fund did not want to include space for supportive services such as a central kitchen, dining room, activity areas and space for visiting healthcare and personal care practitioners. These are essential components of Snug Cove House.
This year, SCHS is applying to HousingHub, a different branch of BC Housing, for a construction loan. The provincial government has recently budgeted $2 billion for HousingHub, which exists to encourage construction of housing for middle-income earners. Although HousingHub does not provide subsidies, it does offer low cost, long amortization mortgages and this can help reduce rents. HousingHub is also more tolerant of space for supportive services.
To qualify, SCHS must demonstrate that Snug Cove House is a viable and sustainable business, one that Bowen Islanders want and can pay for.
For last year’s application, SCHS asked islanders to write letters of support. In response, 175 individuals and organizations wrote thoughtful and often moving letters, for which the society is most grateful. For the new application, in addition to the letters, we must have quantifiable data showing that the need for our residence exists.
To this end, Snug Cove House Society has created a short online survey which we are asking all Bowen households to complete. It is quick and completely anonymous. It is important that as many islanders as possible contribute to the survey. Your response matters, whatever your age and whatever your opinion.
Over the next two weeks, every household will receive invitations, by mail and in this newspaper, to visit the SCHS website, snugcovehouse.com, where you can learn about Snug Cove House and find the survey.
Thank you in advance for your support and for taking a few moments to complete the survey.
The Snug Cove House Board of Directors: Holly Mackintosh, Pernille Nielsen, Martine Sampath, Cindy MacLeod, Chris Passier, Tamsin Miley, Andy Powell-Williams, Susan Munro, Graham Ritchie