Seniors displaced by North Vancouver apartment fire in need of place to live, advocates say

·2 min read
Sue Carabetta with North Shore Community Resources is hoping to find people who are able to offer a suite to low-income seniors displaced by a fire at Silverlynn Apartments in North Vancouver. (CBC - image credit)
Sue Carabetta with North Shore Community Resources is hoping to find people who are able to offer a suite to low-income seniors displaced by a fire at Silverlynn Apartments in North Vancouver. (CBC - image credit)

Advocates say a number of North Vancouver seniors displaced by a large apartment fire are looking for a place to stay as funding for their temporary housing is set to run out.

Fire tore through Silverlynn Apartments in Lynn Valley on May 31, claiming the life of one and leaving more than two dozen residents without a home.

Annwen Loverin with the Silver Harbour Seniors' Activity Centre says a small number of displaced residents are staying with friends and family. Some moved into empty suites in another part of Silverlynn.

But the majority are in accommodations at the University of British Columbia, where the bill is being covered by North Shore Emergency Management and the provincial government.

Loverin says funding to cover temporary housing is set to run out either on Tuesday, June 21 or the following week, on June 28.

LISTEN | Annwen Loverin and Sue Carabetta on housing needs for seniors displaced by fire

B.C. Housing has secured a few affordable rental suites throughout the Lower Mainland, she adds, and is searching for more.

Sue Carabetta with North Shore Community Resources says her organization is seeking residents who are able to offer space to low-income seniors while Silverlynn is being replaced, which could take about a year.

"We're starting to look to the public on the North Shore to say, are there empty suites?" Carabetta says. "Are there places that people can open up their hearts and their spaces to seniors who are at risk of being homeless?"

Loverin says the displaced seniors are used to paying around $500 a month for rent. Low-income housing in Metro Vancouver is increasingly scarce, but she hopes they can find that "needle in the haystack."

"We're really hoping people will support these seniors in bouncing back from this really difficult tragedy," she said.

Anyone with space is asked to contact the North Shore Community Resources. Donations for displaced seniors are being accepted at North Vancouver's Westlynn Baptist Church.

B.C. Housing tells CBC News it is working on identifying available subsidized housing and has expedited the application process, but there is no word on whether the housing will be secured before the temporary funding ends.

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