Several senior housing complexes in Wainwright and the surrounding areas are now under new management.
The Vermilion & District Housing Foundation is taking over 60 units in Wainwright spread across three different manors as well as facilities in Irma, Chauvin and Edgerton. The amalgamation process has begun and will come into effect on January 1st.
The transfer comes following the Lions Management Group in Wainwright announcing they will cease operations by the end of the year. The group managed the Lions Frontier Manor, the Lions Heritage Manor and the Lions Pioneer Manor.
“It’s a significant increase for us. We’re probably doubling our manors capacity from what we had before and we still have future visions and goals,” says Caroline McAuley, board chair of the Vermilion & District Housing Foundation.
With the new additions, the foundation oversees affordable housing for seniors and low income families in several communities including 12 units in Irma, 8 units in Isley, 8 units in Dewberry, 4 units Chauvin and 2 units in Edgerton along with their complexes in Vermilion.
For residents of the buildings, McAuley says nothing will change on the day-to-day basis. People will be employed locally to ensure the facilities are maintained. McAuley mentions those workers will also have the added benefit of being a part of a larger team with different skill sets to handle any issues that arise.
“The residents shouldn’t see much difference. If anything they may see some improvements. For example, we may be able to move the government faster in terms of replacing windows in a building that needs it. Usually you have to go on a list and when you’re a small facility with 4, 8 or 12 units it’s hard to get yourself in the line.”
McAuley says the foundation will help provide a “bigger voice” for the facilities in the area as well as help cut down on administrative tasks such as audits.
“It’s created quite a large portfolio for us. It also allows us to have one business plan, one audited financial statement. Places like Irma would have had to do their own financial statement and pay an auditor, but in this way it all gets rolled into one.”
McAuley says in the medium and long term the foundation will be looking at changing the board structure to include someone from the M.D. of Wainwright as well as advocating for the construction of a Senior Level Four building in the community.
“We have Senior Level Three which is supportive living and we have long-term care, but we don’t have SL Four. As a result, residents have to move out of our community and wait for a bed to open in long-term care. It’s very disruptive. We have a proposal in front of the government right now to consider that.”
She adds it’s been a difficult nine months for the seniors, but safety is their number one priority during the pandemic. McAuley says the foundation has done what it can to minimize any possibility of exposure for their residents while giving them some flexibility.