District of Houston wins Age-friendly grant

Houston won a $20,000 grant to fund an Age-friendly Assessment and Action Plan to improve seniors mobility, independence and integration.

Houston won a $20,000 Age-friendly grant from the B.C. government, to fund an Age-friendly Assessment and Action Plan.

John Guenther, Houston Interim Community Planner, says the plan is mainly for helping seniors mobility, healthy independence, and integration within the community.

“[It’s for] making sure they have the ability to stay and live and operate independently,” Guenther said, adding that it will also look at helping generations integrate.

It looks at transportation options including pedestrian-friendly aspects for health and mobility, and it looks at helping seniors ‘age in place’ – making their homes easier for them to live and age in, Guenther said.

“The plan will increase awareness of what older people require to live active, be socially engaged, and lead independent lives,” said the Houston project description.

It will engage the Houston community and local seniors in discussions and surveys to gather information, which will be analyzed by an Advisory Committee, made of local government, seniors, and community organizations.

They will look at policies, services and structures to support seniors, and make recommendations to council involving possible improvements, including bylaw, zoning, and Official Community Plan (OCP) changes.

The Age-Friendly Community Plan will include a list of Houston’s assets, barriers and suggestions for improvements.

Aimed at keeping seniors healthy and engaged, Age-friendly grants were awarded to 26 communities across B.C., including Houston, Granisle and Vanderhoof.

In Granisle it will go towards good food boxes for the residents of Granisle and the Tachet Reserve, as well as funding monthly lunches at the Granisle Seniors’ Centre, with presentations on healthy food and other topics. In Vanderhoof, the grant will be used to encourage seniors to participate in the Vanderhoof community garden project through a mentoring program where experienced seniors help young students. It will also go towards developing gardening tips and kiosks, volunteer transportation service to the garden, and social opportunities.

“Age-friendly BC grants support projects that help seniors in our community stay healthy, active, and engaged, and will really benefit older residents in Houston, Granisle and Vanderhoof,” said Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad.