City of Calgary signs modernized housing agreement with the Government of Alberta

City of Calgary signs modernized housing agreement with the Government of Alberta

February 18, 2021

City of Calgary Information Release

Click here to view this release on Calgary.ca

The City of Calgary, and the Government of Alberta reached a four-year $34M operating and capital funding agreement to enable the continued provision of affordable housing for 1,048 households. These homes are managed by Calgary Housing Company.

This agreement is part of an affordable housing strategy for Calgary that is aimed at both maintaining and increasing the affordable housing supply locally and has helped create an average of 300 affordable homes/year over the last 10 years. This agreement will contribute to that strategy by maintaining 1,048 homes, which represent approximately 8 per cent of the total supply of affordable housing in Calgary.

“This new agreement sets the stage for the housing plan we need in Calgary. The mixed-rent model will create a more financially sustainable model for affordable housing,” says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “When this is combined with our push for greater federal investment in the supply of housing for those below the income threshold, we have an opportunity before us to create a system that will ensure dignity, opportunity, and security for anyone in Calgary in need of a home.”

The signing of this funding agreement with the Government of Alberta will enable the transition of all City-owned social housing to a social housing mixed-rent model. This agreement has many benefits:

  • It will continue to serve households living in poverty. All households served will be under Alberta’s low-income thresholds for affordable housing.
  • The new agreement will enable policies that are being piloted to focus on positive housing outcomes for tenants including a focus on moving residents – and the children of residents – out of poverty.
    • One great example is that under the new agreement, the income of youths will no longer be included in rent calculations, enabling youth under the age of 22 to earn and save their own money without any sort of penalty to the household.
  • Reduced reliance on government subsidy over time. The social housing mixed-rent model means that this portfolio of housing will include a variety of rental rates, from deeply discounted rent that is set to a percentage of tenant income, to rents set within the higher range of social housing. This mix improves financial viability and sustainability, while allowing tenants of varying financial means to live side-by-side as neighbours
  • It helps ensure that there is adequate funding for investment and repairs. The agreement includes certainty of funding for $34M in operating and capital for repairs and maintenance.
  • Households are better supported to move out of poverty as their situation changes.

To maintain the supply of existing housing through a social housing mixed-rent model, the new agreement will come into effect over the next four years, starting in 2021. The original housing agreements funded jointly between the City of Calgary, the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada, were set to expire between 2021 and 2024.

“It’s important to remember that affordable housing is about people,” says Councillor Druh Farrell. “People in stable housing have greater chances to find and keep jobs, to learn and build skills, and be active participants in their communities. This agreement to maintain homes for those most in need, is one of many necessary steps to meet the growing need in Calgary.”

Access to safe and stable housing helps create inclusive communities and adds to the overall health, prosperity and safety of our city. This agreement is one step forward to achieving the goals of The City Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy to modernize aging provincially funded social housing, reducing reliance on government funding while also investing in the development of new mixed income housing to increase affordable housing supply for Calgarians.

“Alberta’s government knows affordable housing is critical to create inclusive communities and to build economic prosperity for all Albertans. Renewing Alberta’s affordable housing system will result in more flexible, fair and inclusive housing options that meet Albertan’s needs now, and in the future, including for the City of Calgary. Alberta’s government is pleased to continue our ongoing commitment and ensure Albertans have access to safe, stable, and affordable housing.” -Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon

This agreement is well aligned with the recent recommendations of the Alberta Affordable Housing Review Panel report that was accepted by the Province in December, specifically the recommendation to “support and encourage the development of innovative operating models such as the mixed-income, mixed-use, and mixed-tenure housing developments, which will create community benefits and increases the sustainability of affordable housing.”

A key objective of both the City and the Province when entering into these negotiations was to maintain these homes as affordable housing through this agreement, ensuring that citizens in need of affordable housing services continued to get the opportunity to achieve positive outcomes towards their individual and community well-being and make life better every day.

For more information, visit: calgary.ca/affordablehousing

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Quick facts:

  • More than 100,000 Calgary households are forecast to be in housing need [1]by 2025.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 Calgary households are struggling with housing costs.
  • Calgary is in need of 2,000-2,500 new affordable homes each year. We must retain existing housing and build or acquire new homes.
  • This agreement is a joint affordable housing commitment and partnership between The City of Calgary and The Government of Alberta that helps to ensure that affordable housing in Calgary is adequately funded and maintained to meet health and safety requirements and help meet the need for affordable housing.
  • Affordable housing programs are funded in partnership by the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta and The City of Calgary.
  • Housing underpins individual and community wellbeing and is crucial to enabling people to participate economically by holding a job or pursuing education.
  • It actually costs less in tax-payer dollars to provide citizens experiencing homelessness with affordable housing. They will rely less on other public supports, such as shelters, healthcare and emergency services.

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