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What is affordable housing?

There are many different facets and misconceptions when it comes 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. Supportive housing also falls under the umbrella of affordable housing but refers to a model that combines affordable housing with coordinated support services. 

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.
  • Subsidized housing: Refers to a housing assistance program designed specifically to provide affordable housing options for low-income individuals and families. These programs are typically administered by the provincial government or local housing authorities.
  • 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. Supportive housing falls under the jurisdiction of the Province of Alberta. 
  • 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.)

Affordable housing myths

Affordable housing means low quality housing

  • Affordable housing must comply with the same building restrictions and design standards of any market housing, which includes fitting the character of the neighbourhood.

Affordable housing means decreased property values in the surrounding neighbourhoods

  • Multiple studies show that there is no evidence that property values are impacted by affordable housing developments. Annual property tax assessments in the City of Airdrie do not consider the proximity of affordable housing.

Affordable housing only benefits low income families

  • Affordable housing serves people from various income levels and demographics. As Airdrie continues to grow, it’s important to offer a wide variety of housing options for people at all income levels and stages of life such as single-parent households, young professionals, seniors, individuals with disabilities and others.

Affordable housing attracts crime and undesirable residents

  • Several Canadian studies have findings that show crime rates in neighbourhoods with affordable housing are unaffected by their existence.