Community Perspectives on Wellness

Based on what we heard from the many who contributed insights to this plan, building a healthier community means paying attention to the following areas of concern.

Addressing Housing Gaps
Residents pointed out significant gaps in our housing stock. Groups needing attention include the low income and working poor, immigrants, the “hard to house” with mental health or addiction issues, the “transient population,” youth and seniors.

Addressing these needs means regulatory change as well as partnerships involving private and not-for-profit builders. For more detail, see the Town of Hinton Integrated Housing Strategy, available online.
“I think the steps being taken to provide low cost housing are very positive.” - Community Consultation Participant
Provide Emergency Shelter
There is no emergency shelter for men in our community but we do have an 11-bed Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women. Of the 140 or so women and children accommodated every year, nearly half (48%) say they would use a second-stage shelter if one were available. Those unable to afford local rents or obtain rent supplements typically relocate to other communities. The community often has 10 to 15 homeless individuals (mostly men), peaking around 30. Other centres say that year-round shelters for fewer than 20 people are not viable to operate.

Expand Services for Seniors
There are not enough social and recreation activities for our community’s growing population of seniors, residents said. Although some care services are available, seniors requiring additional care or assisted living have limited options. As the number of seniors with dementia and other chronic conditions rises, health risks will also increase.

Improve Family Supports
Some residents express concern about the community’s inability to retain families. Although most families leave due to shifts in employment rather than a desire to get away, gaps do exist in support for families. The community has limited before and after school care programs and offers only limited counseling and few licensed child care services that accommodate shift work.
“Everything sounds exciting, and I‟m looking forward to see what happens, but I feel the development of youth programs should be first and foremost.” - Community Consultation Participant
Motivate Youth
Some teens report a bleak sense of future while others are overly optimistic about their ability to make good money without, at minimum, a high school diploma. Some youth appear bored and unmotivated, and young adults report a significant lack of social opportunities for their age group. An infusion of activities, services, learning options and other opportunities would help to retain and attract youth. Support to families is linked to this issue, as many youth issues are tied to family dysfunction and a latchkey culture compounded by shift work.
“I would love to see more for our children and youth to do in our community. Splash parks, after-school programs, etc., to keep them safe and engaged in our community.” - Community Consultation Participant
Existing Affordable Housing
Several options exist for Hinton residents needing affordable or seniors housing.

The Evergreen Foundation, is the local authority for Alberta’s community housing, rent supplement and lodge assistance programs, operates 134 subsidized units. Those include 64 units for seniors, split between independent living units at the Lions Sunset Manor and supportive living units in the Pine Valley Lodge.

Happy Creek Estates, a public-private development, opened in 2010, offers 47 affordable rental units.

Good Samaritan Foundation, operates 52 designated assisted living units at Mountain View Centre.
“The waiting lists for senior facilities are often short, but managers report a growing need for more assisted living, long-term care and higher level care facilities as the population ages.” - Community Consultation Participant
Reduce Substance Abuse
Crimes and other anti-social behaviours related to substance abuse concern residents. Recommendations include expanded activities and attention to youth.

Meet Aboriginal Needs
Key areas of concern reported by our Aboriginal community include suicide, leadership, education, partnerships and funding sources. Aboriginal residents identify daily challenges in gaining access to local programs, education opportunities, transit, child care and funding. The role of women is changing within the culture, with more women furthering their education in hope of expanding their employment opportunities.
3 Chart 2 Visable Minorities

“In Aboriginal culture, the 'family unit' does not like to be separated. Grandparent(s) often reside with immediate family and have an active relationship in the raising of children. Elders are highly respected individuals and when young people have no active relationship with the elders or grandparents they tend to struggle within society.”
- Community Consultation Participant

Increase Accessibility
Residents with physical disabilities find it challenging to move around town independently due to inaccessible sidewalks and buildings, coupled with limited transit routes and service. Accessible housing also poses barriers. Most homes have stairs, and few apartment buildings are equipped with elevators.