The Government of Alberta has released its first-ever affordable housing strategy. Through Budget 2016, the province is committing $1.2 billion over five years to improve 70,000 affordable housing units, and construct an additional 4,100 units by 2021. Details of how these funds will be allocated are not yet available.
Under the strategy, housing is considered affordable if a household spends no more than 30 percent of its gross income on shelter. The province is exploring mixed-income models of affordable housing, e.g. a mix of market rate and government supported units, and there will be options for tenants to stay in their affordable housing units even when their income increases. The province is increasing asset limits for tenants in affordable housing from $7,000 to $25,000, and tenants will have access to support workers who can connect them with community support services as needed.
Many of the elements of the provincial strategy align with AUMA’s submission, including the new definition of affordable housing and increased asset limits to prevent tenants from losing housing as their income increases.