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Housing for families in need

Housing for families in need

Whitehorn and Shawnee Slopes Family Housing developments


The City has designated two City-owned sites to develop housing to support families. As part of The City's Housing Strategy these developments will help families with children at risk of or already experiencing homelessness. 

Two sites were selected to be close to LRT stations and essential public amenities.

The two sites are:

  • Whitehorn (3510 34 St NE and a portion of 3505 35 St NE) 
  • Shawnee Slopes (14320 6 St SW)

Affordable housing will be made available, aiming to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing. The type of housing and number of homes is dependent on the developer.

Family housing information session

An information session was held in Shawnee Slopes on Feb 26, 2024. Download boards from the information session.

Housing provider has been selected


HomeSpace Society selected to develop transitional housing for families with children. (Visit the City of Calgary Newsroom for full news release)

Upon the conclusion of an Expression of Interest to select a housing provider, HomeSpace Society has been selected to develop housing on two City-owned sites. These two sites will support families with children who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness, as part of The City’s Housing Strategy.

HomeSpace Society is a registered charity with the sole mission to build, maintain, and manage affordable housing for vulnerable Calgarians. HomeSpace owns and runs a portfolio of 892 units of housing in over 34 properties throughout Calgary and serves over 1300 residents. In each of these properties, HomeSpace partners with a social service agency that provides wrap-around supports to keep residents safely housed and connected with the resources they need to thrive. HomeSpace has a strong growth mandate to build more specialized, permanent, affordable housing to address the growing crisis in our city.

For more information on this project, including timelines, visit https://www.homespace.org.

Questions and Answers Concerning Housing for Families in Need


What is transitional family housing?

Family housing provides homes for families with children for a temporary period of time until they are able to find permanent housing. It specifically supports families at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness.

Family housing is a stable and safe place to live while parents concentrate on working and saving for a permanent home and children can focus on learning and growing.

Why is family housing needed?

Based on 2021 census data, 70 per cent of households that earn below $60,000 were spending more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs. The average rent costs between 2020 and 2023 increased by 40 per cent. An annual household income of $67,000 was needed to adequately afford the average market rent in 2022, while an annual income of $84,000 was needed to adequately afford average market rent in 2023.

Families with children in particular are struggling to find housing given these conditions and there is a significant number of families currently homeless or at risk of homelessness.

How long will families stay?

The intent for both sites is to provide homes for families with children for a temporary period of time, bridging the gap from homelessness to permanent housing.

The exact period of time that a family may stay is dependent on many factors and is not dictated by the lease agreement.

How was the site selected?

When selecting these sites, a number of considerations were taken into account. These included the size of the parcel so that it could accommodate a development for families with children with space for amenities, as well as proximity to public transit, schools, grocery stores and other essential services.

These locations will ensure families are close to resources they need to thrive and help them to bridge the gap from homelessness to permanent housing.

Who will live in this family housing?

Families accessing housing on the site must be exclusively families with children who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness as triaged by the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

What supports will be available to families?

The non-profit developer will work closely with The City, Calgary Homeless Foundation and other agencies to ensure supports and services are available for the families housed in the development, if those supports are needed.

What is the process forward concerning Land Use Amendment, Development Permitting through building start-up?

The developer is required to go through standard City land use and development processes. This includes a requirement for community engagement to enable neighbours to provide input into the proposed development before design and construction takes place. As with all developments, the non-profit developer will be required to obtain a land use amendment and development and building permits.

These processes are designed to ensure that developments align with The City’s overall planning objectives while considering the needs and perspectives of the local community. Land Use Amendment: The first step is to submit a Land Use Amendment application. This process involves requesting a change in the designated land use for the subject property. Community outreach is an integral part of this process. The applicant is responsible for engaging with the community to gather feedback.

Members of the public also have an opportunity to share their feedback on the proposed amendment with Council at a public hearing.

Development Permit: After, or sometimes in conjunction with, obtaining land use approval, another requirement is to apply for a Development Permit. This process involves detailed plans and specifications for the proposed development, ensuring that it complies with zoning regulations and other relevant guidelines. Community engagement is also integral to this process.

Building Permit: The final step is to obtain a Building Permit. This permit is necessary for the actual construction of the proposed development. It ensures that the construction plans comply with building codes, safety standards, and other regulations. The focus is on the technical aspects of construction, such as structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, and other building components.

The City will expedite this process, as it does for all affordable housing projects. This means that the land use amendment and permit processing will be prioritized and may happen more quickly than it would for a private market project. It does not mean that any steps in the process will be missed, or that the processes above will be any less rigorous than they otherwise would be. There is a land use process that consists of a public hearing that the public can get involved. For more information on public hearings, please visit calgary.ca/publichearings.

What is the engagement plan for the full housing development process from housing design to operational start-up including level and type of engagement from the City, the non-profit housing developer and social services within the community? Will residents be able to provide feedback?

Residents can provide feedback on the proposal during the public engagement process held by the successful non-profit organization/developer.

The City will provide updates on our website as the program and developments continue.

Successful applicants are required to go through standard City land use and development processes. This includes a requirement for community engagement to enable neighbours to provide input into the proposed development before design and construction takes place.

At this stage, community members can take part and share their perspectives on the proposed development with the housing provider and with Council.

How will my property value be affected if affordable housing is built in my neighbourhood?

More than 100 studies conducted in the US and Canada during the past 30 years show no evidence that property values are impacted by affordable housing developments. The City of Calgary does not consider the proximity of affordable housing in property tax assessments.

How will safety and security be affected in my neighbourhood?

Canadian studies have similar findings as research conducted in the US and other countries that crime rates in the neighbourhood are unaffected by the existence of the supportive housing buildings.

Will the new residents fit into the neighbourhood?

Often, the future occupants of new affordable housing already live in or near the neighbourhood. They are people sharing housing with other family members or friends, or struggling to pay market rent by giving up meals or having to walk because they cannot afford transit fares. Complete communities provide housing opportunities for all.

Will the design fit into my neighbourhood?

Affordable housing must comply with the same building restrictions and design standards as market-rate housing, which includes taking into account the context of the neighbourhood. Other than setting a requirement for the number of units, the type or style of housing is not mandated by The City. This is a decision made by the developer after reviewing what built form would serve families best, funding available for the project and what’s possible on the land given geographic constraints and land use parameters.

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