Comox Valley seniors home closes despite fight to save it

Comox Valley seniors home closes despite fight to save it

A Comox Valley Seniors home is now officially closed, displacing residents that have called each other family for years.
The closure of Abbeyfield House happened despite a continuing grassroots effort to save it, as that community struggles with a housing shortage.

At 91 years old, Gladys Pollard is trying to find her way in a new home, after her and fellow tenants of Courtenay’s Abbeyfield House Seniors facility found themselves evicted and forced to find new places to live.

“Well it’s been quite a change,” said Pollard. “Quite a difference to what it was in

She was grateful to get into a new seniors facility, but it costs $800 more per month than the affordable units at Abbeyfield.
“All my family has had to help,” says Pollard, “because I can’t afford that much money.”

She wonders now what happened to her Abbeyfield neighbours. September 30th marks the official closure of Abbeyfield.
Pollard called it home for 12 years until learning this past summer that a new board overseeing Abbeyfield’s 10 private units was trying to increase rents and it led to a court fight that revealed several more problems and ultimately spiralled into its closure.

“Ten very good residential spaces for low income seniors will be lost in the Comox Valley and the Comox Valley already has a very, very significant housing shortage,” said Barb Biley, who is fighting to save Abbeyfield.
“Which particularly effects seniors and other vulnerable sections of the population,” said Biley. “So to lose those 10 beds seemed a tragedy that we really didn’t want to contemplate.”

So a grassroots team is organizing to save it. Submitting a proposal to have Abbeyfield re-opened under a new board and are now waiting to hear back.

“We just don’t want Abbeyfield House to close,” said Biley.

Gladys Pollard doubts she will ever move back to Abbeyfield, but hopes that it will re-open for the sake of others, who don’t have the family that’s helping her.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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