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Canadian News Jul 8, 2021 5:19 AM EST

Alberta-Canada partnership to provide rent support for 35,500 low-income Alberta households

Amery: The investment promotes personal choice, stability, security and stimulates Alberta's economic growth.

Alberta-Canada partnership to provide rent support for 35,500 low-income Alberta households
Alex Anas Ahmed Calgary, AB

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

More than 24,000 households in Alberta are currently waiting for affordable housing, while about 7,600 Alberta households are receiving rent assistance.

"Last summer, the Affordable Housing Review Panel urged the Government of Alberta to redesign the rent supplement program and maximize federal funding to increase access to affordable housing in Alberta," said United Conservative MLA for Calgary-Cross Mickey Amery. "I've long advocated for a strong rent supplement program as one of the most effective tools to ensuring access to affordable housing."

He said Albertans should not have to choose between living in a particular community and having access to affordable housing and believes this program will help solve this issue. "When we set out to redesign Alberta’s Rent Supplement Program, we had the current and future needs of Albertans in mind," said Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon. "I am pleased the program changes have put us in a position to maximize federal funding and provide rent support to even more Albertans, especially during this difficult time."

Alberta’s Budget 2021 increased the rent supplement program budget by $16 million, for a total of $67.5 million, while the capital plan allocated $238 million over three years to provide new and regenerated affordable housing units and maintain the provincially owned portfolio.

Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen said the federal government recognizes the long-standing need for predictable funding for housing in Alberta and announced that additional supports are on the way. "Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home," he said.

The Canada-Alberta Housing Benefit is joint funding between the federal and provincial governments that will support Alberta’s Rent Supplement Program through the Rent Assistance Benefit and Temporary Rent Assistance. The benefit provides targeted support to meet the significant housing needs of about 35,500 Albertans with low income between 2019-20 and 2027-28. The governments of Alberta and Canada each invested $222 million into the program, for a total of $444 million.

"The Lethbridge Housing Authority is thankful for the investment of $444 million into Alberta’s Rent Supplement Program," said its chief administrative officer Robin James. "We look forward to assisting households in the Lethbridge area with a flexible long-term housing benefit as well as providing the Temporary Rental Assistance Benefit to members of our community who are recently unemployed."

The Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit, which opened on May 1, provided a modest subsidy to help eligible tenants in Alberta’s seven major centres afford their rent while they stabilize or improve their situation. The Rent Assistance Benefit, for those with the lowest income, reopened on April 1 following a program review. Details on both benefits are available online.

Amery adds that the investment in Alberta's rent supplement program will allow eligible Albertans the flexibility and freedom to choose where they live, work and raise their families. Details on the eligibility criteria and benefit amounts for Alberta’s Rent Supplement Program can be found here.

"It promotes personal choice, stability, security and stimulates Alberta's economic growth," he concludes.

The Canada-Alberta Housing Benefit is part of the 10-year bilateral agreement under the National Housing Strategy (NHS). NHS invests a total of $1.1 billion, cost-shared by the federal government and the Alberta government to protect, renew and expand social and community housing, and provide a portable rent subsidy directly to households.

Canada's NHS is an ambitious $72-plus billion plan that aims to give more Canadians a place to call home.

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