Edmonton considering a 16% Affordable Housing Target in every neighbourhood

On Monday afternoon, August 13, 2018, city staff will be presenting an affordable housing framework to City Council Executive.  The need for such a framework is driven by the reality of a steep rise in housing cost in many Canadian cities since the turn of the millenium, and numbers from Statistics Canada that tell us almost 50,000 renter households In Edmonton face difficulty finding housing they can afford.

City staff are proposing a city-wide affordable housing framework (laid out in City Policy C601) to guide the planning and development of City-funded affordable housing projects. There are two important changes that this policy recommends:

  1. That to meet the current needs of Edmontonians, the City encourages affordable housing city-wide, and aspires to 16% affordable housing in all neighbourhoods and wards.
  2. That all new affordable housing projects are evaluated against the same five criteria to ensure consistency and transparency.

Recognizing that the geographic location of a development is only one of multiple factors to consider, the framework lays out five criteria to evaluate affordable housing project proposals

  • The degree of affordability (level of rent payments charged in the project)
  • Whether the proposed development has funding from other orders of government
  • The proximity of the development to amenities and supports
  • The overall project design
  • The broader geographic context of the development’s location

This framework aims to provide a consistent way to assess affordable housing funding proposals from community organizations and the private sector. This means that every affordable housing proposal will be evaluated using the same five criteria, and the existing neighbourhood context and services will be taken into consideration when the City looks at funding affordable housing.

Is 16% too much? 

CRIHI has been grappling with the larger question for some time. and has formulated our answer as follows:

A 16% guideline for distribution of affordable housing across Edmonton is not high, and in itself poses no threat to neighbourhood vitality.

Supporting observations:

  1. The research shows little correlation between rates of non-market housing and neighbourhood distress here in Edmonton.
  2. The 16% suggested target is not high when one considers the practice of other jurisdictions with social safety nets comparable to Canada.  For example: the floating city of Ijburg in the Netherlands is intentionally designed with 30% Social housing, 30% home ownership, and 40% market rental on each block.  The Netherlands has been intentionally designing communities with a steady integration of non-market and mixed-income housing developments since the second world war.

To see our answer in the context of the larger question, please see our Housing FAQ:

How much is too much? and supporting research.


Interested to come see and hear the report on August 13?
Come join us!

CRIHI will be there to hear and respond to this report, and is inviting faith community folks to come out in a show of support for meaningful housing solutions.  We anticipate a great deal of interest from other groups as well, so there is likely to be a fairly strong lineup of people to speak to this report.  CRIHI’s voice will be one of them.

This meeting is designated time specific to begin at 1:30 on Monday, August 13 at City Hall, in the River Valley Room.

To access the formal policy proposal, please go to the following link:
http://sirepub.edmonton.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1964&doctype=AGENDA
Framework and supporting documents are available with the June 18 agenda, under item 6.16

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