Board and CEO address the need for affordable seniors housing at Friends of Silvera event

23 November 2023

“Relationships are the heartbeat of Silvera,” CEO Arlene Adamson recently told Friends of Silvera at a recent recognition event honouring the organization’s donors, supporters, advocates, volunteers, vendors and more.

“Relationships is one of our values that drives our collective effort. There is nothing we can do alone. And we do not take for granted Silvera’s relationship with each and every one of you.”

Speakers at the event at Spruce Commons on Oct. 26 included Al Duerr, a Silvera board member and the former mayor of Calgary, along with Adamson, who gathered with a variety of Silvera supporters to thank them for their contributions to Silvera and discuss how the community can further support the organization and residents.

In her remarks to the group, Adamson discussed the need for affordable housing in Calgary, referring to the recent release of the City of Calgary’s housing needs assessment.

She discussed how Silvera uses a mixed-market strategy to enable Silvera to add more affordable housing as part of its capital growth strategy.

“Affordable housing doesn’t happen without the right level of support from government, but we cannot sit back and wait for governments to figure out everything for us,” she said. “We can and ought to be part of the solution.”

Duerr said the issue of affordable housing for seniors is a national problem, disproportionally impacting seniors, the fastest-growing segment of the population.

“That our demographic is aging – this is not an abstract construct,” he said. “Dealing with this reality of aging, how we decide as a community what we want to be and how we want to be defined – this is within our control.

“The challenge of providing affordable housing for seniors is multi-faceted. For Silvera to succeed, we need strong partners in government and in the community. We need to own this challenge collectively.”

Duerr wrapped up his remarks with the final message of a recent op-ed written by Jim Gray and Duerr in the Calgary Herald.

“Our treasured seniors built Calgary into what it is today and continue to offer their wisdom and vibrancy,” he concluded. “In return, we need to ensure they can participate and thrive. This requires continued investment and support in the many organizations that support seniors. We can’t let affordability be a barrier to seniors who deserve the best life has to offer.”

Adamson concluded with the immense contributions of Silvera’s supporters.

“We need more of your ideas, more of your passion, more of your time, and more of your resources,” she said. “Seniors on fixed incomes must often make difficult choices that leave them at risk of being homeless, physically unhealthy, and socially isolated.

“Not only does this become costly for our society, but these seniors, our community builders, deserve better.”

None of Silvera’s work happens without the supporters who care so deeply about the organization and residents, said Adamson. “Please do not stop caring. We have work to do.”