Housing Needs Assessment: In Calgary, supply of affordable homes is a significant problem
The latest Housing Needs Assessment report has been released. This document helps The City of Calgary and its housing provider partners identify future housing requirements. The recurring report is updated regularly; this release replaces the 2015 report and incorporates data on current and projected populations, housing stock and the corresponding need.
Since 2001, The City has considered households to be in housing need if they earn 65 percent or less of the median household income in Calgary and spend 30% or more of that income on shelter. According to The City’s definition, 81,240 Calgary households need affordable housing as of 2016. This number is forecast to ex¬ceed 100,000 households in the next eight years.
The report also found that there are 44,570 renter households in need of affordable housing. If current growth trends continue, this number will grow by 2,000 additional renter households each year.
“With nearly 1 in 5 households struggling to pay for shelter costs, Affordable Housing is a priority for The City of Calgary” says Sarah Woodgate, Director of Calgary Housing. “Since the implementation of our Foundations for Home strategy in 2016, The City of Calgary has not only worked with the provincial and federal governments to construct new affordable homes, but we’ve also helped local housing developers develop new units through land transfers, grants and assistance in the development process.”
The report includes key measurements surrounding the need for affordable housing in Calgary, including factors that contribute to housing need (like taxes, transportation and food costs). Affordable living is identified as a factor of affordable housing need; some of these needs are address through City of Calgary programs like Fair Entry, which provides financial assistance for important needs like transit passes, home maintenance, and property tax assistance.
Populations more at risk for needing housing assistance are also identified in the report: singles and single parents, youth, and people with disabilities rank high on the list. As Calgary’s economy transitions to include more service-industry jobs, more housing need will focus on these populations.
The goal of the HNA is to understand which members of our community need housing, and what type of housing they need, informing future strategies. The next housing needs assessment is planned for 2023, to coincide with the release federal census data.
“We’re working to increase the housing supply, but the municipal government can’t meet this need acting alone,” Woodgate says, “the research clearly indicates that this is a growing need in our community, and we’ll work with all of the tools at our disposal, and with our partners both in the marketplace and at all levels of government, to ensure that Calgarians have a safe, stable place to home.”
For more information on the report, please visit calgary.ca/affordablehousing.