A big effort is underway to improve affordable housing options in Calgary.
Industry leaders and advocacy groups have formed a collective aimed at improving access for Calgarians.
The collective’s co-chair Kim O’Brien says a group dedicated to addressing housing and affordability is critical for Calgary, where the number of people in need of affordable housing is in the thousands.
According to the City of Calgary, over 38,000 renter households are in need of affordable housing. Another 33,500 households are in danger of losing their homes.
“We know that the wait lists are growing and that’s not surprising in light of the current economic situation,” O’Brien says. “It’s in times like this that it reminds us the most foundational thing is having housing that is affordable.”
O’Brien says one in five people in Calgary is overspending on housing.
She says the group is working on developing a “one-window” point of entry for people searching for affordable housing.
“As it sits right now individuals have to go to all the prospective housing providers and surely there has to be an easier way for the individual.”
The collective drew some inspiration from a similar project in Toronto dubbed the GTA Housing Action Lab, which was formed on a broader mandate of improving affordability issues and building a more sustainable system in the region.
O’Brien says Calgary is also well known for its emphasis on collaboration and “collective impact”.