ALBERTA NDP WILL PROVIDE AFFORDABLE HOUSING TO 40,000 MORE ALBERTANS
EDMONTON – The Alberta NDP released its comprehensive affordable housing strategy today that will ensure 40,000 more Albertans have a safe and affordable place to call home in five years.
In the policy paper Every Albertan Deserves a Home, the Alberta NDP commits to building 8,500 more affordable housing units across Alberta and increasing rental assistance to support 11,000 more homes.
“We will build more affordable housing because housing is the only solution to homelessness,” said Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Alberta needs more social housing — whether that’s for seniors, persons with disabilities, newcomers, families experiencing poverty or anyone who needs wraparound supports.”
This policy commitment is a part of the Alberta NDP’s plan to build a better future and stronger communities. The UCP have decreased the number of provincially supported affordable homes by 8,000 and they cut financial assistance programs that support Albertans.
There were nearly 66,000 provincially supported affordable homes in 2018-19 under the Alberta NDP and only 58,000 supported by the UCP in 2021-22.
“Every Albertan deserves a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Lori Sigurdson, Alberta NDP Seniors and Housing Critic. “I am proud of the historic investments the Alberta NDP made while in government to affordable housing and I am excited about the opportunity to go even further if we form government again to ensure more people have access to affordable housing.
Alberta NDP Community and Social Services Critic Marie Renaud noted the importance of this investment to support communities.
“Social policy is good economic policy”, said Renaud. “Ensuring people have access to homes will save costs across public services. Affordable housing means that people will be less reliant on shelters, less likely to need to access emergency rooms, and will reduce crime.”
Among the 11 proposals in the Alberta NDP’s policy paper is a plan to invest $120 million into the Indigenous Housing Capital Program to support Indigenous led projects and solutions to affordable housing, create a rent bank to protect people from sudden evictions, and reforming income support so the program works to ensure Albertans have stable and secure housing.
The Alberta NDP affordable housing strategy will require $1.6 billion in provincial capital funding and can leverage up to $3 billion total in capital funding from divergent levels of government and housing providers.
“Housing is a fundamental human right and a social determinant of health,” said Raymond Swonek, past president of the Alberta Seniors and Community Housing Association, and former chief executive officer of GEF Seniors Housing.
“To solve the current housing crisis we need a comprehensive and funded housing plan. The Alberta NDP’s “Every Albertan Deserves A Home”, is an investment in affordable housing that supports all Albertans and will make Alberta stronger.”
Kevin Cooper, who has worked for over a decade in housing policy both municipally with Homeward Trust and provincially in the Public Service, and is the founder of the consulting company Leading Housing, said building affordable housing is important to cultivating strong communities by reducing poverty and housing instability.
“I believe the plan presented today to build 8,500 homes over five years is ambitious yet achievable in partnership with community partners in the non-profit housing sector and local governments in Alberta.”
Omar Yaqub, who is the Servant of Servants, which is similar to the role of an executive director, at IslamicFamily, said, “The Alberta economy is being throttled by underinvestment in affordable housing. We need a seismic shift to how we approach housing that includes innovative designs to reflect changing needs, diversifying housing providers to better represent the makeup of the province, and unlocking new and better ways to finance and sustain projects.”
Nick Falvo, a public policy researcher and expert in affordable housing, also supports the plan. “Alberta needs bold action on both non-profit housing supply and housing affordability generally. I’m happy to see the Alberta NDP has a plan to move the needle on both!”
Alberta NDP MLA Janis Irwin, who represents the constituency of Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood, said, “No Albertan should be forced to sleep on the street or in an unsafe situation.
“I see firsthand every day in my riding the impacts of the lack of housing on the people who I represent, and I know that we need to do better,” said Irwin.
“This investment will make a meaningful difference for so many Albertans across the province experiencing poverty.”