The Village of Clinton hopes to use the findings of a housing needs assessment to lobby the provincial government for more seniors’ housing.
Preliminary findings from a housing needs assessment, one of several being conducted in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, suggests the town continues to grow older, with one-third of residents over 65. Most of them continue to live alone in single-detached housing, a trend Mayor Susan Swan attributes to limited retirement housing in the village. The Clinton Villa, for instance, has a waiting list for its 12-14 spots.
“It reaffirms what we already know – that we have a lot of seniors,” Swan said. “We can use that to lobby the government to put in seniors housing. A lot of seniors are living one person to a big home because we don’t have any facility or retirement homes.
“They don’t want to leave the community and we don’t want them to,” she added. “They would take their knowledge and history.”
The study, which is still in the early stages, notes Clinton, which had a population of 631 people in the last Census in 2016, is in fairly good shape despite having some of the oldest housing stock in the region. About 27 percent of homes in the village were built prior to 1960, but that’s “not a bad thing,” said Sandy MacKay, who is doing the housing assessment on behalf of the TNRD.
“Sometimes that older stock may be better built or can withstand the conditions. You can view it as an asset as well as a detriment,” he said.
MacKay said the situation will give the village time to consider building new seniors’ housing, or other stock, to free up some of those larger homes for younger families while still keeping housing affordable. The study, which looks at factors such as housing suitability and core housing need – residents not spending more than 30 percent of their income on rents – will now move into the next phase, which includes engagement with the community.