ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Housing and Affordability Task Force was an exciting opportunity to bring together people who build, study and have experience living in different levels of the housing continuum, and use their experience and recommendations to improve our approaches to improving housing affordability and increasing access to affordable housing. All parts of the housing continuum – market housing, non-market and social housing, transitional housing, and homelessness – were discussed through targeted task force sessions.
The outcomes of the task force are to present their recommendations to Council on June 6, 2023. The summary and recommendations made by the task force will be used to revise The City’s Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy and influence other City policies and strategies related to housing and affordability.
The following page includes many housing-related terms that used in this work. Please check the Project Glossary for definitions of these terms.
At the June 7, 2022, Combined Meeting of Council, Administration was directed to develop a Housing and Affordability Task Force as per Notice of Motion EC2022-0638 to “report to Council with advice and policy recommendations relating to increasing, measuring, and managing housing affordability and affordable housing along the entire housing continuum, including a survey/review of existing programs, policies, and solutions both locally and in other relevant jurisdictions”.
Affordable market and non-market housing along the housing continuum is increasingly hard to find. This is especially true for urban Indigenous Calgarians, recent immigrants, youth, seniors, singles, single parents, and households with disabilities or activity limitations. In 2018, we found that 81,240 households were in need of affordable housing in Calgary, and we expect this number to exceed 100,000 households by 2026. Beyond providing shelter, housing improves our communities by creating local jobs; strengthening our ability to pay for goods and services; attracting employers with a stable workforce; and reducing demand for emergency services, saving $34,000 for each person who finds housing who previously had none.
The City of Calgary has made significant progress in increasing the supply of affordable housing in Calgary, primarily through Foundations for Home, Calgary’s Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy. For example, 17% of all available non-market housing has been constructed or acquired since the strategy was approved by Council in 2016. Recognizing that the state of housing had continued to change between 2016 and today, at the May 10, 2022, Combined Meeting of Council, Administration was directed to develop a refreshed Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy to be brought to the Community Development Committee by the fall of 2023.
Below is a list of commonly used terms and their definitions.
Housing affordability is when there is a balanced housing market, where the demand from buyers is equal to the available homes from sellers, and people or households have access to a variety of housing options where they do not have to spend more than 30% of their income on shelter.
Missing middle housing refers to a range of housing types between semi-detached homes to small apartment buildings that may be missing in housing options within municipalities.
The lower-end of missing middle housing includes house-scale buildings with multiple units—compatible in scale and form with single-detached homes. The upper end of missing middle housing includes buildings with multiple units at a scale that is larger, but are still compatible with typical low-density forms, the type of housing with a very low number of housing units on any residential block. These types of homes fit in well in a neighbourhood but offer different housing options than a typical low density form, allowing more people of different demographics and needs, at different ranges of affordability and stages of life, to move into, or remain living in, a neighbourhood.
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing is considered to be affordable when a household spends less than 30% of its pre-tax income on adequate shelter.The City of Calgary defines affordable housing more narrowly as housing for people who, because of financial or other circumstances, need assistance to cover their housing costs. It may take a number of forms on the housing spectrum, from non-market rental units to attainable homeownership. In order to exclude discretionary overspending, The City targets affordable housing to households earning 65% or less of the Calgary area median income.
A household is in need of affordable housing when they earn less than 65% of the Calgary area median income and spend more than 30% of their gross income on shelter costs.
Rental or for-sale housing from the private housing market made affordable for income groups. Non-market housing is typically made affordable through public and/or non-profit ownership of housing units, or through rent assistance that allow low-income households to access housing in the private housing market.
Social housing refers to a set of programs designed by the federal and provincial governments, in which non-market housing units are provided for low-income households.In regulated social housing units, rent is made to be 30% of the tenant’s household income with a minimum required payment of $120 per month. As currently structured, this model is supported by ongoing significant subsidies from the federal and provincial governments.
Housing that provides supports to individuals and families with special needs to achieve housing stability and independence. While there is no maximum length of stay in supportive housing, these programs may aim to eventually transition clients out of the program to less intensive community-based services, or may constitute long-term permanent housing, depending on the program goals and population served.
The Housing & Affordability Task Force created six recommendations that are ambitious, bold and take an uninhibited approach to meeting the unique needs and context of Calgary.
They are informed by best practices from other jurisdictions, 18 experienced panel contributors, and an open forum through The City’s engagement portal. The recommendations provide a roadmap that enables policymakers, housing developers, community organizations, and other partners to work collaboratively towards creating more housing and sustained affordable housing options for Calgarians.
The details of the Housing & Affordability Task Force Recommendations and associated actions can be found here.*
The first three recommendations will help Calgary to increase and diversify the supply of housing. Boosting development by 1,000 more market homes beyond what is normally built in a year, and at least 3,000 non-market affordable homes a year.
- Recommendation 1: Make it easier to build housing across the city.
- Recommendation 2: Make more land available to build more housing across the city.
- Recommendation 3: Ensure that the supply of affordable housing meets the needs of Indigenous people living in Calgary and Equity-Deserving populations.
The next two recommendations will help Calgary to strengthen the housing sector to support partner collaboration and foster a greater impact than if they were to act alone.
- Recommendation 4: Convene the housing sector to facilitate greater collaboration.
- Recommendation 5: Increase the investment to support housing providers.
The last recommendation will help Calgary to improve living conditions for people in rental housing.
- Recommendation 6: Ensure more individuals have a safe place to call home.
The recommendations will be presented to Council for deliberation on June 6, 2023.
* Please note: Following the public release of the recommendations at 11AM on 4 May 2023, a correction was made to the Recommendation 1di as follows: Rowhouse - Ground Oriented changed to Residential Grade-Oriented.
Housing and Affordability Task Force Members
Following a public application process that began in August 2022, The City of Calgary has selected the following individuals to the Housing and Affordability Task Force:
- Swati Dhingra
- Teresa Goldstein
- Alison Grittner
- Jim Gordon
- Patricia Jones
- Maya Kambeitz
- Gerrad Oishi
- Minori Olguin
- Morgan Parker
- Kevin Webb
In addition, the Task Force will also have membership from the following members of City of Calgary Administration:
- Jeff Chase (Director, Partnerships)
- Debra Hamilton (Director, Community Planning)
- Melanie Hulsker (Director, Community Strategies)
- Josh White (Director, City and Regional Planning)
- Tim Ward (Manager, Housing Solutions), Chair
The term for Task Force members was September 2022 through March 2023.
Members of the Task Force will provide The City of Calgary with valuable advice and recommendations on how to increase housing affordability and the amount of available affordable housing, measure the effectiveness and impact of our programs and policies, and the management of City policies, programs, and affordable housing complexes. Their feedback will also be used to help inform revisions to The City’s Corporate Affordable Housing Strategy.