Calgary City Council announced it has adopted a new land sale policy allowing for the sale of up to 10 parcels of City land to non-profit affordable housing developers every two years beginning in 2019.
The new policy is designed to help develop capacity among non-profit housing providers to invest in building more non-market housing in Calgary. By partnering with the non-profit housing sector, the City hopes to help close the gap of 15,000 affordable housing units needed to meet the national average of non-market housing in urban centres. Currently, nearly one in five households in Calgary are struggling to pay for shelter costs.
The plan was tested through a pilot program involving six sites between 2017 and 2018. With all six development projects successfully underway, 160 new affordable units will soon be coming to market—80 of which will target Calgary’s most vulnerable populations.
The land sold through the pilot program at a combined $6.4 million discount helped the developers leverage over $30 million in funding, including private philanthropy, representing a 460 per cent return on the City’s investment.
Based on this success, the new land sale policy regularizes and streamlines the process for future sales, allowing potential partners to plan ahead for development, and reducing the amount of “red tape” approvals needed for future sales, while getting the units to market faster.
“This is a historic milestone. We’re proud of our success in engaging the non-profit sector to increase production of new housing in Calgary,” said Sarah Woodgate, Director of Calgary Housing and President of Calgary Housing Company. “We have a real need for more affordable housing in this city, and we have organizations with development pipelines ready to partner with us to help fill that need. We’re very excited to make more of these developments a reality, we’re thrilled to have found a cost-effective way to do it.”
“The lack of affordable housing in Calgary is consistently among our citizens’ top concerns,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “This policy supports the City’s strategy to get our non-profit housing partners building more units more quickly. Contributing surplus City land is part of The City’s commitment to supporting shovel ready projects, along with the provincial and federal governments, to improve the lives of Calgarians.”
For more information on Calgary affordable housing policy, visit calgary.ca/housing.