Affordable Housing Initiative
Provincial Affordable Housing Panel News, and Local Representation (July 2020)
Government of Alberta Affordable Housing Panel – News release July 9, 2020 (link to Province of Alberta news release)\
NOTE: As a board member of Westwinds Communities, the Town of High River is excited to share the news that our local COA of Westwinds Communities, Lauren Ingalls, has been appointed to a provincial panel on affordable housing. Congratulations Lauren and thank you for representing the rural communities in our region.
Town of High River Affordable Housing
The Town of High River currently operates 33 affordable housing units. The program is managed through Community Support Services and a property management company.
For housing to be considered affordable, a household should be spending no more than 30% of their income on rent or a mortgage. According to Canada Mortgage and Housing, this means a household of four needs a minimum income of $44,500 to afford market rental housing.
Eligibility and Rental Applications
For more information contact the property manager at 403-554-1249 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are available at the FCSS Resource Centre located at the Charles Clark Medical Centre.
Note: The units are not subsidized but rent is set at an affordable rate as determined by Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs. Potential tenants may qualify for a subsidy through the Foothills Foundation. For more information visit the Westwinds Communities website or call 403-652-8600 or visit the FCSS Resource Centre for rental information and/or application forms.
High River’s Affordable Housing Initiative is a housing option for those who are unable to afford market housing. Rents are intended to be affordable and are not subsidized. Rent does not include power, cable or telephone. Prairie Sound tenants are also responsible for heat. Selection is based on eligibility, greatest need and availability.
- Primary Applicant must be over the age of 18.
- Primary Applicant is a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
- Must be living, working or attending school in High River or have immediate family ties in High River.
- The size of unit (# of bedrooms) is based on family size, not applicant preference.
- Each application is reviewed on an individual basis.
- Income guidelines must be met (minimum and maximum income levels)
The Town of High River’s FCSS Department was very fortunate to receive three grants from Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs which enabled them to begin developing affordable housing in town. To date, the Town has used the funding to build a 24-unit apartment complex, purchase 10 condo units and offer a grant to home owners who wish to develop a secondary suite. The Town continues to promote and support the development of mixed income housing to ensure a range of affordable housing options are available for all High River residents.
- Mundy Park (112 – 21 Street N.E.) eight 1-bedroom units, eight 2-bedroom units and eight 3-bedroom units
- Two 2-bedroom units and two 3-bedroom units in the north west
- Three 3-bedroom units and one 2-bedroom unit in the north east
When it is well developed and managed, affordable housing offers many benefits, to the community and residents.
The community benefits from affordable housing because it contributes to sustainable and dynamic local communities by:
- providing housing for a diverse local workforce and accommodating people with the different skills required to support communities.
- providing direct economic benefits to the local community, including increased demand for goods and services which in turn provides increased local employment opportunities.
- meeting the needs of the growing number of smaller households living in high-cost areas.
- promoting the economic and social integration – ensuring that families’ housing costs are not so high that they can’t afford to meet education and health costs and that there is sufficient security of tenure to improve their capacity to obtain and maintain employment.
Residents of affordable housing benefit because it provides housing that:
- is more affordable than that already available in the private market, thus still allowing adequate income for essential expenses such as food, clothing, health and education.
- integrates with the community.
- provides a way for people to remain in areas in which they have lived for a long time, and live close to their support networks during changes in life circumstances such as divorce, retirement, or recovery from a long-term illness or injury.
“There is considerable evidence that living in a neighbourhood with a high concentration of poverty can diminish the life chances of both children and adults… most researchers now agree that spatially concentrated poverty can actually cause or exacerbate social problems.” (Outcome: Strong Neighbourhoods. FCSS Calgary Research Brief No. 5)
It is generally agreed that strong neighbourhoods feature:
- High levels of social cohesion and inclusion.
- Good quality built and natural environments, including housing access, affordability and quality.
- Accessible, affordable, and high quality amenities, programs and services.
- Positive community economic development.
“Much of the most successful affordable housing has been built as part of mixed-income housing developments or neighbourhoods, providing stable, attractive communities with prices to accommodate the needs of a variety of households.” (Mixed Income Housing: Myth & Fact Report, Urban Land Institute)