In your October 2016 newsletter, I wrote about how increasing the affordable housing supply is one of Council’s priorities. In Part Two, I will share information on why, how, and where the City builds affordable housing.
Council unanimously passed the new Affordable Housing Strategy last year and is working to find homes for over 3000 families on the Calgary Housing Company waitlist. The recently released 2016 Citizen Satisfaction Survey confirmed that Calgarians want increased investment in affordable housing: 95% of Ward 7 residents said affordable housing is very or somewhat important.
A key principle in Calgary’s Municipal Development Plan is to provide a mix of housing types and prices in all communities, including affordable housing. The City has learned from experience that building affordable housing that blends into neighbourhoods works best for new residents and for communities. Happily, the days of “social housing ghettos” are behind us.
Alongside the goal of providing safe and affordable housing for Calgarians, the City focuses on designing buildings that fit in with communities. Building quality affordable homes makes these developments indistinguishable from market-priced housing and helps low-income Calgarians integrate quickly into their new neighbourhoods. Many residents are surprised to learn that from Dalhousie to Mount Pleasant to Hillhurst, almost every community in Ward 7 has welcomed affordable housing developments.
The City develops affordable housing units that are built to last over 65 years. Using slightly more expensive materials at the outset reduces long-term maintenance and utility costs. The City seeks LEED Certification and focuses on the Building Durability, Energy-Efficiency, and Tenant Health sections. These features minimize monthly operating costs, allow for maintenance dollars to be set aside in reserve, and ensure Calgarians see maximum value from our investment in affordable housing.
Over the last three years the City has also reduced the cost of affordable housing from $330,000 per unit to about $250,000 per unit – and in many cases much lower. Most of the funding comes from the Provincial and Federal governments, with a recent commitment from Ottawa for $2.3 billion nation-wide.
Ultimately, the City builds quality, durable, and cost-effective homes that provide much-needed housing for low-income Calgarians. Our model ensures those homes integrate well into all neighbourhoods and deliver value to all Calgarians.
To sign up for updates on key community and Ward 7 issues, please visit www.DruhFarrell.ca To contact my office, please email Ward07@Calgary.ca.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.