Critical Need for Housing – CHRA Report

Over the last two decades, the landscape of housing in Canada has seen a notable shift towards increased unaffordability. Approximately 2.6 million Canadians find themselves in core housing need, grappling with issues related to unsuitability, inadequacy, and unaffordability. This challenge is complex, stemming from both demand and supply factors, with the slow growth in new community housing units since the mid-1990s exacerbating the situation.

The Canadian Housing & Renewal Association (CHRA) has recently released a report that underlines the country’s critical housing need. In Alberta, to meet the estimated target to help meet our province’s demand, we would need to develop 43,800 new residences (significantly higher than Stronger Foundations’ goal of 25,000 new units), the second-highest increase in total impact, behind Ontario. This report serves as an urgent call to action, calling on governments to commit to the creation of more housing units for the greater economic and social well-being of our communities.

The CHRA’s report recognizes affordable housing as a crucial segment for our communities.

Their research provides meaningful insights into the intricate dynamics of building and sustaining affordable housing.

Considering the estimates in this report, for 2023 in the Foothills region, we need to build 339 units for Okotoks, 136 units for High River, 52 units for Diamond Valley, and 234 units for Foothills County – for a total of 761 units.

In 2023, Westwinds increased the affordable housing supply by 10 new housing units and an increase in rental assistance benefit funding to further support 67 households. In addition, another 12 units of affordable rental housing was provided by others providing a total of 89 affordable housing units and or funding. In order to attain the CHRA the local community need 95 new units and or funding support would be needed annually. While we are close on track for 2023 projected affordable development in the region is limited and starting in 2024, we will see demand significantly outpacing supply and new units.

Westwinds Communities is hopeful this critical, good work will help provide policymakers and government leaders with further information to help them prioritize and take action to address the increasing housing affordability crisis.

We urge all of our community members – residents, home-owners, renters, landlords, government and industry partners to raise their voices around this critical issue.