The following excerpt was published in the April 2021 edition of the Renfrew Collingwood Community News. Read the full article on the RCCN website here.
Brightside has been around for a long time. First providing subsidized rental homes for low-income seniors in the early 1950s, Brightside now provides affordable homes for seniors, families, and people with disabilities in 26 buildings throughout Vancouver. Brightside residents, many of whom are seniors, are often part of close-knit communities. Some have lived in Brightside buildings for many years, even decades.
One such community of residents comes from Brightside’s Alice Saunders building in Hastings-Sunrise. Neighbours share a large, open garden space and often get together in the building’s aging common room. All of the residents at Alice Saunders are seniors, and many wish to continue living independently at home in their community for the long term.
Though Brightside has always strived to maintain the building at a high level of quality, the building lacks a number of features that ensure senior residents are able to age in place and thrive in their community. This is why Brightside made the decision to redevelop the building. Many residents in the Alice Saunders community expressed concern that their community would be broken apart and made known their interest in remaining together, something that presented a unique challenge for Brightside. Brightside reached out to Odd Fellows Low Rental Housing Society, which shares Brightside’s emphasis on community and the importance of the social supports it provides.
Odd Fellows, having just completed the Odd Fellows Low Rental Housing building at 5681 Lincoln Street, presented an opportunity for a unique partnership with Brightside. With more than enough available homes to ensure Brightside’s Alice Saunders community could stay together, the outcome was win-win for all involved.