By Ken Fraser, Executive Director of VRS Communities Seniors Living, including Pacific Carlton (Surrey)
When I was twenty-one years old, I broke my neck in a diving accident and have been confined to a wheelchair ever since. Three years after my accident I was hired by VRS Communities, a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, as a housing placement officer. My job was to find wheelchair accessible housing in the community for individuals in wheelchairs.
This was no easy task in 1982.
I was passionate about my work, and it showed. I was later promoted to Accountant and then to Executive Director, a position I have held for the past thirty years.
At VRS Communities we have been creating housing solutions and services for clients in British Columbia for almost fifty years. Our story is one rooted in integrity, perseverance, and inspiration. Beginning our journey as a non-profit serving persons with disabilities, we now proudly serve thousands of individuals throughout the province including seniors and families. We believe in building communities where everyone experiences belonging, growth and independence.
Seven years ago, we identified a need in the seniors community for a high quality affordable housing option for middle income seniors. There were many high-end independent seniors living projects and some subsidized facilities in the market, but not a lot of options for middle income retirees to live in a safe and supported environment.
From this calling, a vision for VRS Seniors Living was born. We now proudly own and operate eleven seniors communities throughout BC and Alberta and have more in the planning stage.
What is unique about our seniors residences, is our commitment to quality and affordability – matching our words with the actions we take each day to bring those benefits back to our residents. Our bottom line is not something of interest to the board of directors – the exception being if we are running at a surplus, we are charging too much, or need to increase services. With this model we believe in a new way forward for seniors housing.
We are committed to bringing our service model to many communities in BC and to prove we can compete by delivering a better retirement solution for our Seniors.