Dignity House - A Vision for Eco-Friendly LGBTT Seniors and Elder Housing for Vancouver
A safe, supportive, and welcoming eco-friendly home for LGBTT senior citizens and elders and their friends, families, and allies.
About Your Organization
Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society
Canada, BC, Delta
Country where this solution is creating social impact
Canada, BC, Vancouver
Region in BC where your solution creates social impact
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
How long has your organization been operating?
More than 5 years
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Idea (you're poised to launch)
How long have you been in operation?
Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: Describe the need for your solution and the size and characteristics of the community(ies) your solution is engaging
There are no specific independent affordable housing programs for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and two-spirit (LGBTT) elders and seniors in Vancouver. Of the subsidized housing that is available to the community at-large there are long wait lists. Private market housing is not really an option for people on low income. Vancouver has high rental costs and low vacancy rates.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
The concept of an LGBTT Seniors Housing and Wellness Centre/Day Program, referred to in this paper as Dignity House, is nothing new. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Denver, Boston, and even Montreal all have or are in the process of studying or developing affordable housing for their LGBTT specific populations.
LGBTT seniors are an invisible group. The seniors care system often does not provide culturally sensitive services. As a result, many LGBTT seniors are forced to go back in the closet for fear of bias, discrimination, or rejection by their caregivers.
It is important to develop a stronger sense of community and connections with other persons from similar backgrounds facing similar life challenges and that is the fundamental concept and vision behind Dignity House.
The solution is based on the Triangle Square Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing in Los Angelas which provides affordable housing on a sliding scale rental model.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include the primary activities involved in your solution.
LGBTT seniors have unique needs. They have higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide. They are at high risk of social isolation because they often do not have children or family to support them in their old age. Many are left to spend their elder years alone.
Some LGBTT seniors have even lost much of their social and support circle to HIV/AIDS.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others working to address the same needs as you and indicate what sets you apart from them.
Dignity House would be a one of a kind unique project for Vancouver. The goal is also for Dignity House to be as energy efficient and eco-friendly as possible, with possibly a community garden and courtyard. This will facilitate composting and reduce the ecological footprint and provide healthy activities for the residents and visitors of Dignity House. The goal is to create a green building with a zero waste philosophy and practice.
Dignity House is an inclusive project and has the capacity to benefit all City of Vancouver residents because it welcomes everyone. The project will target the LGBTT population in Vancouver but friends, families, allies, and supporters will be welcome at Dignity House.
The goal of Dignity House is to provide a safe and supportive home for residents
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
I watched a touching video on You Tube where LGBTT senior citizens and elders in Los Angeles talked about their joy and happiness when they discovered they were offered a spot at the Triangle Square housing development in Hollywood.
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
To increase the supply of affordable housing in Vancouver for vulnerable population groups such as LGBTT seniors. Many LGBTT seniors have no family or children to take care of them in their old age. They are often victims of alienation, loneliness, and neglect. Dignity House provides them with a place where they can find community, connection, safety, support, respect, compassion, and of course dignity in their elder years.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
The Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society agreed to be the lead agency for Dignity House.
The following people provided letters of support.
Wayne Robert who is the Executive Director of Health Initiative for Men (HIM).
Catherine Kohm who is the Executive Director of Haro Park Seniors Centre in Downtown Vancouver.
Gary Thandi who is the Manager of Family Services for Diversecity Community Resources Society.
I also received the following endorsement from a former Vancouver City Councillor:
"Alex Sangha's analysis of the need for a LGBT seniors housing and wellness centre - Dignity House - makes the case for such a facility in Vancouver. By providing some real numbers, a comparison with other cities and a rationale for our particular circumstances, particularly a large aboriginal population, the discussion paper provides a good first step that will hopefully go beyond just discussion."
Director of the City Program
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
The next five years involves the following steps in the development process:
1. Feedback on draft discussion paper
2. Needs assessment, feasibility study, and land site study completed
3. Strike a committee of stakeholders to review the needs assessment and make most of the decisions regarding Dignity House
4. Public consultations on the needs assessment
5. Develop a funding proposal to submit to various funders such as BC Housing and CMHC
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
I am applying to this competition to secure funding for a needs assessment, feasibility study, and land site assessment. This will cost $27,500.00.
If these funds are secured then a professional consultant can evaluate the project and the community will have more specifics about whether or not to move forward with Dignity House or make necessary changes in the proposal.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Circulate the Draft Discussion Paper for Dignity House for Feedback
Secure funding for a Needs Assessment, Feasibility Study, and Land Site Study
Establish a Committee of Key Stakeholders to make most of the decisions regarding Dignity House
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Develop a Funding Proposal to submit to various funders such as BC Housing and CMHC
Build Community Support for the project through Community Partnerships
Hire professional architects and construction professionals to design an eco-friendly seniors complex
Tell us about your partnerships
Corporate Donations - From companies that value LGBT issues and diversity
Rental Income - From tenants
Community Sponsorships - Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Sponsors
Individual Contributions - From LGBTT people and their friends, families, allies, and supporters
Charitable Foundations - Vancouver Foundation
Wills and Estates and Inherited Money - Establish a giving program
Social Events and Activities - Ticket sales and membership fees for non-residents
In-Kind Contributions - Donations of labour, supplies, and materials
Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?
Friends, Families, Allies,and Supporters of LGBTT people
Dignity House may become a province wide specialty resource to make it more attractive for BC Housing to fund and to possible obtain funding from the various health authorities across the province.
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
A Facebook Group has been created where the draft discussion paper and letters of support and other relevant information are all readily available.
The goal is to be as open and transparent as possible and involve the public as much as possible with this project.
Currently the Draft Discussion Paper for Dignity House is circulating throughout the community for feedback.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
I have entered Dignity House in this competition in order to obtain the necessary seed funding to get this project off the ground.
Many organizations would like to see more specifics and details which are illustrated in a needs assessment and feasibility study before they get on board so seed funding is a critical piece of the development process for this Dignity House project.