Alberta Liberal response to Question 9

Question 1:  Will you support Calgary’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness by providing a greater share of funding to Calgary to reflect the city’s growth, cost of living and high homeless population?

Question: 2  Will you reinstate block funding to enable The City of Calgary to sustain affordable housing development?

Question: 3  What commitment will you make to the construction of more affordable housing in cities?

Question: 4  What measures would you be willing to introduce to encourage the participation of the private sector in the development of more affordable housing in Alberta’s cities?

Answer:  Alberta Liberals recognize that Calgary is really the epicentre of the province’s homelessness problem. Just as Calgary receives a greater share of Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding on account of its higher population and kilometres of road, we believe there’s a strong case to be made for funding housing, shelter and mental health initiatives for the homeless proportionate to where the need is most evident.

Alberta Liberals believe that our cities and Calgary in particular are going to need a fairly steady supply of new affordable housing stock for the foreseeable future. We simply don’t have enough to meet the demand, and Calgary continues to attract newcomers at a rapid pace. Ever since the PCs met their much publicized target of developing 11,000 new affordable housing units by 2012, we have seen the budget for housing capital programs fall dramatically. Worse still is that a subsequent review by the Auditor General showed that the actual impact of those new units on the province’s overall affordable housing numbers was not well documented or understood. The Auditor General also criticized the PCs for not monitoring whether those units were actually being used by those they were intended for, and for not ensuring that the new affordable housing stock was targeted at the right segments of the population (seniors, special needs, low-income) and in the right locations. Our commitment to Calgary and other fast growing jurisdictions is that we’ll use all the legislative tools and financial resources at our disposal to make it easier for builders and municipalities to create affordable housing.

Alberta Liberals will stabilize funding for housing capital programs at a level that will allow development to occur at a pace that more accurately reflects the need. We will also encourage local governments to freeze, reduce or eliminate property taxes on affordable rental units for a set number of years by providing corresponding grants to municipalities to make up for the lost revenue. Additionally, we will work with municipalities to use density bonuses to allow builders to create more affordable housing at a lower cost per unit and will encourage municipalities to eliminate development fee levies, fast-track building permits and waive permit fees.

Lastly, through the development of city charters, Alberta Liberals will grant Calgary and Edmonton the ability to mandate inclusionary zoning to help create more affordable housing.


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