The rising cost of living and limited rental supply continue to create barriers for some Calgarians to meet their basic shelter needs. Close to 84,000 households struggle to afford housing in Calgary, and by 2026 this number will grow to over 100,000.
The need is great. Non-market housing supports only three percent of Calgary’s households, compared to a national average of six percent. Calgarians understand the challenge, as housing consistently ranks as a top priority for more investment in the annual Citizen Satisfaction Survey.
In response, City Council unanimously endorsed the Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy in 2016. The City is working through the implementation plan, and I am pleased to report that we are meeting or exceeding all of our short-term targets:
- 2313 new units delivered, exceeding the 1500 target
- 370 new homes for Calgary Housing Company delivered or in the development phase
- 200 City-owned units repaired for critical maintenance
- Implementation of various program activities to improve outcomes for tenants, reaching more than 1,000 unique individuals.
What’s next? Of all the levers a municipality can pull, land is the greatest contribution that can be made to increase the housing supply. In May of 2019, Council adopted the Non-Market Housing Land Disposition Policy, enabling The City to sell surplus land at below-market value to non-profit housing providers. The program ensures a predictable supply of land to organizations with a track record in developing and operating quality non-market housing. It also sets them up for success in leveraging funds from other orders of government.
While The City has some catching up to do to meet the national average, we are on the right track. We are moving toward a holistic approach with partners and residents, where our goals are ambitious and service delivery is people-focused.