Seen here from left, Tracey McLean-Schultz, tenant liason Calgary Housing Company; Lorne Dach, MLA, Edmonton-McLung; Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing; and Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO.

Housing strategy builds foundation for the future

A new provincial affordable housing strategy will help more Albertans save for the future.

More than 110,000 Albertans live in government-supported affordable housing. This strategy will give those people and their families new tools to help stabilize their finances, find a safe home and build better lives for themselves and the people they love.

“Living in government-supported housing shouldn’t stand in the way of people who want a better job or to save for the future,” said Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing. “With the new affordable housing strategy, our government is standing behind families, not in their way. New tools will help people save, get better jobs and live in safe, secure homes.”

The strategy was developed with input from about 1,800 tenants and housing providers. It is built on three principles that go beyond the bricks and mortar of a house by prioritizing people and focusing on their success and well-being.

Exploring mixed-income models in affordable housing

Previously, tenants could be kicked out of their homes when they got a better job that put their income slightly above the low-income limit. The government is piloting mixed-income models to allow tenants to pay an adjusted rent so they can choose to stay in their homes.

Increasing asset limits

Individuals need support over time as they improve their finances and achieve greater financial stability. The Provincial Affordable Housing Strategy does this by increasing the asset limit for tenants in affordable housing from $7,000 to $25,000. This new tool will mean more families can save for their education, or a down payment on a house, or put money away as a safety net for the future.

“Tenants tell me they want to get a better job and be able to save up for their family’s future,” said Tracey McLean-Schultz, tenant liaison, Calgary Housing Company. “But the existing housing system isn’t designed for that and tenants risk losing their home if they do. These changes mean we can begin to break the cycle of poverty.”

Making transitions into stable affordable housing easier

The strategy makes it easier for Albertans to move into stable, affordable housing by giving graduates of Housing First, a program that helps Albertans facing homelessness, more opportunities to move into permanent housing.

Quick facts

Alberta was one of only two provinces without an affordable housing strategy.

Budget 2016 commits $1.2 billion over five years to improve the system’s 70,000 housing units and construct an additional 4,100 units by 2021.

There are more than 110,000 Albertans in affordable housing.

Source: Government of Alberta

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