COVID-19 Community Advocacy Plan Proposes
5,100 New Affordable Homes
In August, The City of Calgary ramped up pressure for affordable housing solutions on the Federal and Provincial governments as it endorsed and submitted a community plan calling for investment in affordable housing in Calgary totaling $624M over the next three years (Federal - $349M, Provincial - $275M).
The COVID-19 Community Affordable Housing Advocacy Plan is intended to create a more resilient housing system to respond to future shocks while focusing on community priorities and aligning local interests with opportunities for investment identified by federal and provincial stakeholders. Outcomes of the plan, if implemented, would include:
- Deliver housing for up to 12,000 Calgarians, meaningfully addressing homelessness in our city and addressing a long-standing affordable housing deficit;
- Build or and secure more than 5,400 new homes – increasing the asset base of the non-profit housing sector and reducing reliance on future government funding;
- Leverage economic conditions favourable to real estate acquisition and construction and mitigate potential collapse in the tourism and residential sectors by securing homes for those who need them;
- Create 2,800 residential construction jobs across 22 non-profit affordable housing construction projects
The plan proposes two streams of activity. The first stream, intended to rapidly create homes for 600 Calgarians experiencing or at risk of homelessness, would require $58.7M in funding shared between the province and federal government. This stream includes acquisition of 300 homes in hotels and surplus market properties as well as increased funding for Rent Supplements that support people in existing market and non-market homes.
The second stream would roll out over three years and see the development of 4,800 new homes at a cost of $537M. The total includes 3,000 homes ($300M) built or acquired in partnership with the private sector and 1,800 homes ($237M) in 22 previously identified, shovel-ready projects. Almost $186M has already been sourced or committed for the shovel-ready projects which include developments by The City of Calgary, Homespace, Horizon Housing, Silvera for Seniors, The Mustard Seed and others.
The Plan was developed by a committee of 65 individuals from 42 organizations from private, non-profit, and government housing sectors. The group included organizations serving Calgarians experiencing homelessness, seniors, Indigenous people, and families as well as organizations representing non-market rental housing, attainable homeownership, market rental landlords, builders and developers, and Federal and Provincial government representatives.
The committee’s plan was then presented to Calgary City Council’s Intergovernmental Affairs Committee which endorsed it and agreed that it should be forwarded to the Federal and Provincial Governments.
In early August, Mayor Naheed Nenshi sent the plan to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen.
“When implemented” said Mayor Nenshi in his letter to Premier Kenney, “(the plan) will make considerable strides towards ensuring Calgary emerges with a stronger civil society that will ensure more of our citizens can live with dignity, access opportunities to improve their lives, and contribute to our economic recovery.”
Mayor Nenshi’s letter emphasized the need for collaboration between orders of government and the need for the Province to participate in order to enable access to federal funds.