Budget cut could cut affordable housing
CALGARY -- The provincial government’s decision to cut funding for maintainence of affordable housing units could result in dozens of those units being permanently closed, say some of Calgary’s municipal politicians.
“The units are in terrible condition," said Ward 7 councillor Druh Farrell. "Some are ready to be closed down if we don’t fix them.”
“This is a life safety issue," Farrell added. "If we don’t get that capital funding we’re talking about unit closures, possibly 100 -- so it's a crisis. These are our most vulnerable citizens.”
The cut comes as Calgary is already far behind its goal for affordable housing in the city: the mayor says 15,000 more units are needed to meet the national average.
Farrell said funding for affordable housing is complicated to obtain, since both the city and the province are involved.
She said that means the amount of money available to build or repair units is constantly fluctuating, and can change whenever a new regime comes into either government office.
“It’s happened over period of a generations,” she said. “It’s not the fault of this particular government, it’s a longer term issue that we’ve been experiencing, so we need that capital investment now.”
Farrell said entire buildings could be closed if money isn’t found to repair the units inside, many of which she says are not livable in their current state.
“It’s a wicked problem. “ she said. “It requires a one-time investment to get them up to standard and then a long-term commitment to increase our housing stock and move to a more suitable affordable housing model.”