Baptist Housing has welcomed seniors for 60 years; now has 21 communities

Baptist Housing is determined to increase its focus on the people serving the people.

More than 2,750 seniors reside comfortably in 21 Baptist Housing communities located in Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, Victoria, Kelowna, White Rock, West Vancouver, Salmon Arm and Armstrong. The rental housing covers independent living, assisted living and long-term care.

Sixty years ago, in 1964, Jack Pickford and other members of the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in BC (now Fellowship Pacific) launched Clarendon Court in the Killarney area of Vancouver. It had eight staff and 172 residents.

Since his departure, Jay Perkins, Lorrie Thomson, Larry Nelson and Howard Johnson have taken the helm of this ministry.

Marc Kinna, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baptist Housing, says people are the heart of their ministry: “Our ministry exists following after the compassion and love of Jesus for the world, compelling us to do likewise in loving those who need housing, care and restoration of their souls.”

The society has embraced values using the acronym CHRIST: Compassion, Honesty, Respect, Innovation, Stewardship and Teamwork. Somewhere in the midst of it all, the 838 care aides, 2,500 team members and numerous volunteers have added fun to the list.

Five highlights

Shannon Oaks – on the original site where Baptist Housing started in South Vancouver.

Lorrie Wasyliw, director on the board since 1995, and current chairperson, reflected on five highlights during her time with Baptist Housing:

  • In 2001, we opened the doors on our first independent living community. Shannon Oaks was designed to provide a community where seniors could continue to live independently and enjoy the community benefits of daily activities, fine-dining and weekly housekeeping. Then in 2005, we completed a redevelopment of Clarendon Court shifting it to assisted living housing – a first in our history.
  • In 2008, we marked Baptist Housing’s expansion into Kelowna, with the purchase of three campuses, each offering independent living, assisted living and long-term care. The addition of the Kelowna campuses – Mill Creek Village, Sun Pointe Village and Smith Creek Village – marked significant growth in Baptist Housing’s history.
  • In 2014, Mt. Edwards Court and Central Care Home residents (in Victoria) were moved into The Heights at Mt. View (in Saanich). Next door to The Heights at Mt. View, Carey Place had opened in 2012. With 55 one-bedroom suites, the affordable seniors residence was developed in partnership with Capital Regional District, BC Housing and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
  • In 2015, Linwood Court, a senior’s rental community previously operated by the Linwood Foundation, joined Baptist Housing’s family. Baptist Housing committed to keep Linwood Court affordable housing with the future desire to redevelop. This month, Linwood Court reopens as a brand new affordable rental community on the land where the previous one sat – offering 97 one-bedroom suites in a vibrant neighbourhood.
  • In 2019, Evergreen Baptist (White Rock and South Surrey) completed a legal transfer with Baptist Housing so that Evergreen Heights, Evergreen Manor and Evergreen Terraces and Pointe joined the Baptist family ministry, providing long-term care, assisted living and affordable rental for seniors living in the area.

Focus on people

Kinna says:

This year, as we continue to focus on people, we have invested more emphasis on the people serving the people. It has not been enough to say thank you. We have recognized the burden and strain – the weight and the impact – of serving in our sector over these last few years.

The issues we face are real and our team is on the front-line of impact. Therefore, team wellness as a strategic ministry priority has been and remains an essential focus for us.

In addition to team wellness, the top priorities for Baptist include ministry modernization, equitable government funding, positive resident experience, sustainable staffing, redevelopment, affordable housing renewal, prayer and end of life ministry.

Mission of Baptist Housing

Pacific Fellowship Regional Director, David Horita (left) celebrating the occasion with Baptist Housing Board Chair Lorrie Wasyliw and President Marc Kinna.

Baptist Housing states, “Compelled by the values of Jesus Christ, we provide exceptional holistic care as we assist seniors to experience life well in supportive communities.”

Attention is given to physical, social, mental and spiritual well-being for all team members. Wellness-centred resources, overseen by chaplains, “help team members understand compassion fatigue and navigate and process the grief that is an inevitable part of our care for seniors.”

Baptist Housing partners with diverse Fellowship Pacific ministries, including New Hope Community Services Society (serving refugees), Northwest Seminary (at TWU), Women in Need Gaining Strength (WINGS), Vancouver Urban Ministries (tutoring for marginalized children) and camps like Qwanoes and Sunnybrae.

Educational partners include Royal Roads, Sprott Shaw, UBC, University of Victoria and Camosun College. Dozens of other partners focused on senior care also form part of the vast network.

Volunteers over 15 years of age can gain new skills, get affirmed in the use of their gifting, build meaningful relationships through shared experience with residents and team members, and learn the unique histories of so many experienced travellers. One team member noted that “caring for residents here is much more rewarding than having the changeover of patients in the hospitals. Senior care is rewarding as we care for the residents to the end of their lives.”

Chaplains respect individual faith commitments and journeys while acting as a key part of the spiritual and wellness care team. Their physical presence adds to the comfort and encouragement during vulnerable moments. Through prayer, chapels, visitation, grief support and spiritual discussion, they add to the wholistic focus of Baptist Housing.

Independent living suites allow for affordable apartments while allowing access to nutritious dining, social events, spiritual care support, lounges, activity centres, gardening and common patios. In addition, Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER) and Subsidized Housing provides opportunity for those over 55 years of age, while Seniors Supportive Housing (SSH) provides modified rental units to low-income seniors and those with disabilities who need assistance.

Making a difference

Two residents enjoy the fun.

In the past year, Baptist Housing was awarded the FortisBC Energy Conservation Leader Award from the BC Non-profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) for its unwavering dedication to energy efficiency and conservation.

And Moira Cameron received the BC Care Provider of the Year Award in Assisted Living: “Her personalized care, fostering of independence, and compassion embody Baptist Housing’s core values.”

Baptist Housing advertises itself as a community dedicated to providing exceptional care and support to seniors across British Columbia. They are “actively seeking compassionate individuals who share our values and are eager to make a difference in the lives of others.”

“As we look back on 60 years of compassionate service and forward to the future, we remain focused on our mission of creating supportive environments where seniors can thrive and experience an enhanced quality of life. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this incredible journey. Here’s to 60 years of meaningful connections, joyous moments, and transformative senior living experiences at Baptist Housing!”

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