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Why Airdrie needs affordable housing

Affordable housing builds a stronger community

More than 2000 homes are needed to help residents achieve affordable housing options. Anyone can be impacted by the need for affordable housing however, individuals and families in renter households, those with disabilities, lone-parent households, seniors, and young persons are more commonly impacted.

In June of 2023, City Council passed the Affordable Housing Principled Action Plan that provides direction on how administration will pursue Council's stated priority to offer affordable housing options in Airdrie.


The importance of affordable housing

Affordable housing contributes to economic growth, workforce stability and community resilience.

  • When people spend less on housing, they have more disposable income to invest in other necessities, such as health care, education and quality food. This increased purchasing power is key to stimulating local economies and support small businesses.
  • Affordable housing also helps attract and retain a talented workforce. When affordable housing options are available in the community, it reduces commuting times and costs, making it easier for employees to work and contribute to their local economies. Local businesses can also benefit by ensuring that employees can afford to live in the communities they serve.

Affordable housing is vital for a thriving and inclusive community.

  • When individuals have stable housing, they are more likely to become invested in their neighbourhoods and engage in local activities, events and initiatives. They contribute to the social fabric of the community, fostering a sense of pride and collective responsibility.
  • Affordable housing also contributes to social cohesion and inclusion and breaks down economic barriers and fosters interactions among individuals from different income levels, backgrounds and cultures.

Affordable housing impacts individuals and families across various income levels and demographics.

  • For low-income families, affordable housing is crucial for meeting basic needs and preventing homelessness. This ensures that a significant portion of their income is not consumed by housing costs.
  • For moderate income families, rising housing costs strain budgets and present challenges. Affordable market housing enables moderate income households to maintain financial stability and allows them to allocate resources to other essential expenses such as education, health care and retirement savings.
  • Young professionals and first-time homebuyers may have limited savings and face challenges in entering the housing market due to high home prices and interest rates. Affordable housing can help these individuals overcome financial barriers and achieve homeownership or find affordable rental options.
  • Seniors and retirees are also impacted by the availability of affordable housing as it allows them to maintain independence and ensure housing costs are manageable throughout retirement.

What is affordable housing?

There are many different facets to affordable housing. When the City uses the term affordable housing it refers to housing that is achieveable on an individual's income. Both market options (private) and subsidized housing fall under the umbrella of affordable housing. 

Other common terms: 

  • Housing affordability: Refers to the extent to which individuals or households can afford housing costs relative to their income or financial resources. It is a measure of whether housing expenses, including rent of mortgage payments, utilities and related costs are within a reasonable proportion of a person’s income.
  • Supportive housing: Supportive housing falls under the umbrella of affordable housing but refers to a model that combines affordable housing with coordinated support services for individuals or households facing challenges related to homelessness, mental health, substance abuse, disabilities, or other complex needs. It aims to provide stable housing along with necessary assistance to help people achieve greater self-sufficiency. 
  • Workforce housing: housing that is specifically designed and targeted to meet the needs of individuals and families who are part of the local workforce and earn moderate to middle incomes. It aims to provide affordable housing options for working professionals including teachers, health care workers, first responders, service industry employees and others who contribute to the local economy but face challenges in finding housing in high-cost areas.
  • Secondary suites: These are self-contained living units within a residential property that are designed and equipped for independent living. They are secondary to the main dwelling unit on the property and typically have their own separate entrance, kitchen, bathroom and living areas.
  • Middle Housing: Increased density on single family lots in walkable neighbourhoods (example: duplexes, secondary suites, etc.)

Current housing crisis in Canada

Canada is facing chronic housing shortages and rising costs of home ownership and rentals. This reflects a major supply-demand imbalance and has coincided with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, sparking widespread concerns about affordability.

Income levels are not keeping up with the rising cost of housing. The gap between housing needs and available resources requires more action on affordable housing.