This week's City Council meeting on Monday (May 15) included a presentation on a recent housing needs assessment.
According to Patti Murray, Manager of Recreation, Culture and Social Sustainability with the City of Airdrie, the assessment was meant to see what opportunities currently exist in Airdrie around housing.
"The process was really to try to determine the nature and the extent of housing needs that are in our community and develop strategies to address the needs to ensure that Airdrie has a reasonable choice in terms of housing options."
Matthew MacNeil, Principal of Housing Strategies Inc., presented the findings to Council, highlighting a number of key findings. Almost 98 per cent of available housing in Airdrie is market housing. Airdrie does not currently have any emergency shelters or transitional housing to help individuals and familiies who are homeless, including those fleeing domestic violence. There are an estimated 317 supportive housing units in Airdrie, with the vast majority aimed towards seniors. Airdrie has 76 below-market rental housing units. Including rent supplements brings that total up to an estimated 161 below-market rental housing opportunities. Finally, Airdrie currently has eight affordable homeownership opportunities for moderate and low-income families with children through Habitat for Humanity.
MacNeil also made a number of recommendations to council. Specific to Airdrie Housing Limited, MacNeil expressed that the former RCMP site needs to be developped. He also said that the City should try to regain administration of it's rent supplement program, which is currently run out of Calgary, causing Airdronians to compete with Calgarians for the program.
Murray said the next step is for the City to engage with thos involved in the housing industry.
"There's a need to have some intentional conversations with those involved in the housing industy and those who have a role to play. There'll be discussions with many organizations and agencies that provide housing."
Murray explained that the assessment will serve as the foundation for a housing strategy over the next 3 to 5 years, but it is a topic that will need to be revisited regularly as things can change quickly.
"Gaps and services available, they constantly change, so there's always a need to go back and look at what you have, what gaps emerge down the road, who is going to try to help in closing those gaps, what are some of those partnership opportunities."
On Monday, council voted to table the assessment for the time being, as it was one of two agenda items in an Airdrie Housing meeting that was cancelled. The assessment was tabled until Airdrie Housing Limited and the Community Service Advisory Board can provide feedback.
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