Low-income Calgarians now have a new option for housing, thanks to a new building funded through a brand new financing plan through the federal government.
Ottawa has funded the construction of two buildings, one in Calgary’s Glamorgan community and the other in Kitchener, Ontario through the Rental Construction Financing Initiative, part of Canada’s national strategy to help the housing crisis.
Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, says that while the two communities selected are far away from each other, they share a number of similarities.
“They are vibrant, thriving and diverse communities. However, unfortunately, like many other Canadian cities, the demand for housing in these centres has far outstripped the available supply.”
Over 180 families will be able to find homes in the pair of projects that cost over $50M to build.
Officials say that they had a number of developers come forward to take advantage of a low-cost construction loan announced back in November.
“Since the launch of the program in April 2017, the interest from developers has been incredible. It is clear that there is a growing cohort of private sector and institutional developers that are keen to develop portfolios of affordable rental housing targeted to Canada’s middle class,” said Duclos.
Developers applying to the program need to fulfill three requirements to qualify for a loan, first of all being energy efficiency.
“We want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we also want to make it more affordable to pay for energy costs, and this is an example of a project that’s going to reduce energy use.”
Duclos says that a minimum 10 percent of the units of each building also need to be 100 percent accessible.
“The third thing is affordability. We need these projects to decrease the rent and cost of renting by at least 20 percent less than rental market figures.”
Duclos says the program has been such a success that funding will be increased by 50 percent in Budget 2018 to a total of $3.75B over the next three years.
“The Rental Construction Financing Initiative is one of many components of Canada’s first-ever national housing strategy. This spring, we’ve been rolling out measure elements of this strategy, a comprehensive 10-year $40B plus plan, a historic investment that will have a lasting impact across our great country.”
More projects are expected to be announced later on this year.
Officials say Calgary needs 15,000 units of affordable housing just to reach the national average.
The Glamorgan development is expected to be completed within the year.
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