Canadian seniors experience multiple barriers in terms of accessing age appropriate housing. With large numbers of our aging population on a fixed income, COVID-19 has drastically intensified the need for social programming in areas of food security, mental health, and housing. While Nanaimo is a diverse and active city, seniors continue to experience systemic barriers in accessing the means to finding safe and secure housing. Finding long-term housing that is affordable, safe, and adaptive to changing physical needs is incredibly challenging. A chaotic rental market combined with low wages/pensions, precarious employment, and limited affordable housing options have created a situation where many of Nanaimo’s seniors find themselves at risk of homelessness. With one-bedroom rental units averaging $1100 per month, many seniors are paying over 70% of their monthly income just on housing alone.
SHINE/NFLA is not a housing provider, nor are we able to provide housing placements; however, our Seniors Housing Navigator and SHINE Volunteers can provide information and support that will assist Nanaimo seniors in their searches.
Housing instability adds a layer of stress to our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing which is why we are seeking volunteers who can practice non-judgement, compassion, and empathy to the seniors they are providing service to. SHINE volunteers must have effective and clear written and verbal communication skills. The volunteer must also be able to read and write effectively in English.
This volunteer position primarily involves providing support via the phone and online spaces which includes, but is not limited to:
- Offering support in navigating online spaces and databases connected to the private rental market, such as Craigslist, Kijiji, Facebook, etc.
- Assessing/screening potential landlords and liaising on clients’ behalves
- Assisting with the SHINE Facebook page/responding to inquiries
- Assisting in the completion of program applications related to housing security
- Checking in with seniors who are experiencing difficulties with housing and providing information and referral when appropriate
SHINE Volunteers will be provided with training around conversational approaches to talking to folks experiencing housing barriers, about the current state of the housing market, and information around the SHINE program and what NFLA can offer in terms of supporting clients.
If interested, contact Kirsten Brooker, Seniors Housing Navigator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (250)754-3331 (427)
Kurstin Rispin, Volunteer Coordinator, at email@example.com or (250) 754-3331 ext. 716