Review of Affordable Housing in Alberta Budget 2022
On February 24, the Government of Alberta presented its 2022-23 budget. Below is the Calgary Housing Company (CHC) review of the budget and its impact on the affordable housing sector in Alberta.
CHC had submitted its Budget 2022 recommendations to the Government of Alberta in January 2022 as part of its pre-budget consultation. The submission is attached for information along with CHC’s letter to Minister Pon on the provincial affordable housing strategy, Calgary City Council’s Budget 2022 priorities, and The City of Calgary’s assessment of Budget 2022. (See additional links to these documents at end of article.)
Moving forward, CHC will continue to engage with the Government of Alberta as we continue to reiterate the need for additional funding for the sector and to ensure non-profit housing providers are a central component of the implementation of Stronger Foundations in the years to come.
Budget 2022 contained modest funding for the implementation of the affordable housing strategy – Stronger Foundations and some increases were announced to support the affordable housing sector.
Of concern for CHC remains the continued reduction in funding for the Capital Maintenance and Renewal (CMR) Program – which was reduced by 23 per cent for 2022-2023 (from $49.2M in 2021 to $38M for 2022). Budget 2022 also estimates a further reduction in CMR funding to $23.3M for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 fiscal years.
Stronger Foundations Provincial Strategy
In the supplemental budget documents, the Province indicated funding over three years to begin the implementation of Stronger Foundations. This included $118M in capital funding, $25.3M of operational funding, and $29M for asset sales support – most of which is back ended to the 2024-25 budget year.
Of the $118M announced in Budget 2022, $97M is allocated in capital funding over the next three years for strategy implementation. Funding is $16M for 2022-23, $33M for 2023-24, and $48M for 2024-25.
This funding will focus on key elements of Stronger Foundations:
- Developing and implementing an Affordable Housing Asset Management Framework;
- Expanding partnerships with government, municipal, non-profit, and private housing partners through a new Affordable Housing Partnership Framework; and
- Working with local governments on affordable housing needs assessments.
The remaining $21M of the announced $118M is funding over three years for the Indigenous Housing Capital Program (in addition to $20M already announced for this program –$40.7M total over the next three years).
Budget 2022 highlights the sale of provincially-owned affordable housing assets with the funds generated being redirected to fund the affordable housing strategy. Revenue increases are projected of a combined $90M over 2022-23 to 2024-25 from selling housing assets as part of the ten-year affordable housing strategy. Indications are that no Calgary properties are slated for divestiture in 2022. The $29M allocated to support asset divestitures will be used to reconcile deferred maintenance costs for some asset sales.
The $25.3M of operational funding for the strategy includes $14M over three years for additional rental assistance, although this budget amount did not increase for 2022. The operational funding is heavily back loaded with over 75 per cent coming in the third year. Funding is $1.8M for 2022-23, $4.2M for 2023-24, and $19.3M for 2024-25.
Capital Maintenance and Renewal Program
The 2022-23 budget reduces capital maintenance and renewal funding for affordable housing from $49.2M in 2021 to $38M in 2022, a 23 per cent decrease, representing a continued trend of disinvestment in Affordable Housing.
For 2022, CHC received only 30% of what is needed in capital maintenance and renewal funding to ensure provincially owned homes meet the Alberta Minimum Housing and Health Standards and remain open and available to the for Albertans.
As part of the strategy, Budget 2022 includes an additional $14M to fund additional rental supports for approximately 3,000 households. The additional $14M is allocated as the majority of the $25.3M operational funding for Stronger Foundations over the next three years and is back loaded to year three for the increase in funding.
Property Tax Exemptions
Budget 2022 did not address The City of Calgary’s request for property tax relief for affordable housing providers. The City has consistently advocated for affordable housing to be exempted from property taxes under the Community Organization Property Tax Exemption Regulation (COPTER).