Lower income Calgarians struggling to find affordable housing
Published Wednesday, September 7, 2016 9:08PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 7, 2016 9:09PM MDT
Calgarians who need social assistance to pay their bills are finding it hard to find housing they can afford, according to a new study
Researchers at the University of Calgary have found that our city is the least affordable in Canada. The cheapest studio apartment in Calgary costs about $77 per month, but is still more expensive than similar ones in Winnipeg, Hamilton, Montreal and Quebec City.
Calgary’s rent is higher in every category except for two bedroom apartments, which are a close second to Vancouver, something that is driving some people out onto the street.
“It's a pretty simple dynamic, if I can't afford an apartment I'm going to end up in a homeless shelter,” said Ron Kneebone, University of Calgary School of Public Policy. “It's no surprise when you look at Calgary in particular there has been a dramatic increase in the number of shelter beds.”
Rent in Calgary was on par with other Canadian cities until the boom a decade ago when it skyrocketed, but social assistance didn’t keep up.
“A big chunk of folks that are in the homeless shelters are employed but they're just not able to make enough or secure a livelihood on the employment they are able to secure, they come here for opportunity and are shocked when they get here,” said Kevin McNichol, Calgary Homeless Foundation.
Researchers say the federal government needs to address the issue of rent and social assistance, but should keep in mind that every city is different and needs unique solutions.