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Affordability gap stories


Stories about the impact of the affordability gap on Calgarians and their need for affordable housing.

David's story​
  • ​David is among 13,590 single individuals living alone who have a gross annual household income that is less than $19,999, and who spend 30% or more of income on rent .
  • There are no housing units that fall within the affordable monthly rent limit of $350 to $475 for households in David’s income group. The reality is that David must spend much more than 30% of his monthly income to pay the rent, leaving very little income for other essentials such as food, transportation, and specialized medical care.
  • With a permanent disability, David’s chances of improving his income through any means other than government income support payments are extremely limited. He is therefore likely to remain in desperate need of affordable housing for the rest of his life.

Eric and Lang's story
  • Lang, Eric and their three children are among the 1,450 two-parent families with children in Calgary who have a gross annual household income that is between $30,000 and $43,999 and who spend 30% or more of income on rent .
  • Eric works full-time as an arborist, while Lang is a full-time homemaker who does not work outside the home. Their son attends elementary school and their two preschool daughters stay home with their mom.

  • The average employment income for an arborist​ in Calgary is $43,739 for full-time, full-year work.  The high cost of child care – early childhood education and care for preschoolers, and before and after school care for the school-age child – make it financially impossible for Lang to work outside the home while her children are young. 

    There are several types of market rental housing units in Calgary that are within the affordable monthly rent limit of $750 to $1,100 for households in Eric and Lang’s income group. However, Eric and Lang are at the lower end of the income range, where the only unit type that is affordable is a bachelor apartment, which is far too small to accommodate a family of five.

  • As Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation notes, in order to live in housing that is suitable, National Occupancy Standards dictate that an adult couple, a child over the age of five without same-sex siblings, and a pair of same-sex siblings should each have their own bedrooms. Suitable housing for Eric, Lang, and their children would have three bedrooms. 

  • In order to find a suitable rental home for their size of family, the reality is that Lang and Eric must spend more than 30% of their gross household income to rent a three-bedroom apartment ($1,060/month) or row home ($1,163/month) in the private market or an ‘other’ three bedroom unit in the secondary market ($1,260/month) .  This leaves very little income for other essentials such as food, transportation, school supplies, and recreation or leisure pursuits for their family.

  • Once all three children are in school, Lang will be able to afford before and after school care when she returns to work. For the next few years, however, this family will continue to be in serious need of affordable housing.
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