Understanding the affordable seniors housing application process

17 May 2022

For many Calgary seniors, transitioning out of their long-time homes can feel overwhelming. And for their families, too!

Navigating the many choices that come along with such a major life event doesn’t have to be full of twists and turns – particularly when it comes to common questions, such as “Can I afford this?”

The good news is there’s plenty of help traversing the affordable seniors housing road. An important key is to be organized during the application process. For details about that, we sat down with Silvera community living coordinators Amanda Poitras and Saby Paul to get their unique insights.

Do … be prepared: That includes having a functional health assessment completed in advance by a healthcare provider – a physician, registered nurse practitioner or naturopath ND. “For those individuals moving into independent living communities, we want to ensure they are able to handle all the tasks and skills necessary to be able to continue living independently,” says Poitras. “And we don’t want someone who loves to cook to feel over-housed in an enhanced services building.”

Adds Paul: “It is so important to narrow down which communities at Silvera are the most appropriate for an individual, and whether those options are going to be a place they can thrive.”

When applying for affordable (i.e., subsidized) housing, be prepared to present your Notice of Assessment (NOA), which is your federally processed income tax assessment. To qualify for subsidized seniors housing in Alberta, an individual must make less than $43,500 annually. If you cannot locate your NOA, you can request a copy from the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281.

Do … understand there are wait periods: To access some communities, applicants may wait two to three years. This is based on priority as established by the provincial government. Paul notes wait lists tend to be longer for certain types of accommodations, such as communities that house lower income residents. Silvera does its best to match waiting list applicants with other Calgary housing organizations if necessary.

Do … know there are plenty of options: Are you looking for independent apartment-style lodging? Assisted living? Do you best fit in a 55-plus community? Or 60-65-plus? Silvera offers many different locations across Calgary, as well housing styles that suit a variety of needs and financial situations.

“We ask applicants these questions up front to ensure we’re presenting the right options to them,” says Paul. For example, under the umbrella of subsidized seniors living, Silvera offers independent apartment-style lodging, as well enhanced communities that include meals, housekeeping and social activities.

Poitras also highlights Vista Apartments as one of the newest options in Silvera’s growing portfolio. The newly renovated, 120-unit building in the city’s northeast features affordable, spacious one- and two-bedroom units for adults 55-plus.

Do … ask for a tour: It’s one of the best ways to become more familiar with your options and understand if a certain community is a good fit. “Silvera emphasizes the concept of choice,” says Poitras. “We try to showcase those choices, whether through tours of different communities or answering questions.”

Don’t … feel overwhelmed: “Our Community Living team can walk potential residents and their family members through the process to ensure their current and future needs are properly met,” says Paul.

Adds Poitras: “Getting to know our prospective resident is an important piece of that initial application stage. Whether that’s chatting with an applicant on the phone, adding them to the wait list or conducting a tour, it gives us an opportunity to find out what they are concerned about while also ensuring we find them the right home.”

If you want to learn more about the application process, have a look at our Frequently Asked Questions, download an application form or contact us at 403-567-5301, [email protected].