Urgent Need for Affordable Senior Housing in Ottawa
A recent report carried out by OREA and OREB Ottawa Real Estate Board has identified a lack of accessible Affordable Senior Housing in Ottawa for seniors relocating to Ottawa. Living in Ottawa presented seniors with a few obstacles when trying to find accessible housing, including affordability (45%), and availability (22%), and 56% of realtors surveyed in Ottawa said they had difficulties in finding properties for clients searching for multi-generational homes.
Relocating to Ottawa what the Client is Looking For
There were three things that the clients were looking for when returning to Ottawa:
• More space and bigger homes to accommodate extended family.
• Good location
This was closely followed by requests for bigger yards, since the start of the COVID crisis in March 2020 we don’t want to live too close.
Three in four Realtors in Ottawa rate the amount of available housing as unsatisfactory, meaning it is hard to meet the needs of their clients.
To make it more difficult municipal leaders were doing a poor job in supporting housing issues. There is not much housing diversity in Ottawa and it does not look as though this will change soon. OREB was interested in the responses around the need for senior living housing options in light of the impact COVID-19 has on senior care homes. Many seniors would prefer to remain in their homes for as long as they can, with families choosing to have their parents live with them in a multi-generational property. Unfortunately, there are very few options available to meet these needs.
Phone Survey of Ottawa Residents.
• 80% of Ottawa residents are concerned about the affordability of housing in Ottawa.
• 72% are concerned about adequate housing for seniors.
• 35% said they would require senior-friendly housing in the next 5 years.
It was then suggested that construction restrictions should be eased to meet the needs of clients by allowing more flexible options for housing.
Need for Affordable Senior Housing in Ottawa Options for Seniors
There appears to be a need for municipal policies leaders to address the demand for a range of affordable housing for the elderly of the city of Ottawa soon. Since COVID-19 perceptions have changed and seniors think differently about how they should live. They would rather be in their own homes or living with their families than be in an aged care facility. Some suggestions were made around construction regulation:
• More flexible construction regulation
• Ease on permit fees, incentives, and grants to come up with ideas.
• Make approval times for permits faster.
• Give tax breaks.
• Allow Coach houses.
The above ideas are creative, and it is to be hoped that community members act upon some of them before it is too late.
A Coach house is a freestanding building separate from the main house and built on the same lot. They are seen as a way to increase affordable housing options and bring more density to old neighbourhoods without negative impact in the form of high rise and other often unaesthetic development. They are a good way of keeping heritage precincts intact while offering more accommodation. To be made suitable for older people they would require lifts to gain access to the upper levels.
From a Realtor’s point of view, Coach houses are a good proposition, as they are completely separated from the main dwelling, and people living in them won’t make the usual apartment block noise complaints, this makes them perfect for older people to enjoy a quiet life.
Living in Ottawa
The population of Ottawa is around 1. 408 million people in 2021, and this makes it a very livable city no wonder seniors are attracted to living there in retirement, it is a nice sized place for older people to get around easily. Demographically an area turns over every 15 years. So from a Realtor’s perspective, there won’t be too long a wait until larger houses start appearing on the market for sale again, and prices seem to always rise. So if the municipal leaders decide to build some planned senior living housing this is a great idea, as when vacated, it can always be purchased by other seniors as the demand will only keep increasing as we are an aging population.