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Calgary sells three parcels to non-profit housing providers

Three city-owned sites were offered up below market value to help spur more affordable housing in Calgary communities.

After the recent passage of the Calgary Housing Strategy, the City of Calgary was to release up to 10 parcels of developable land every two years to help increase the capacity of non-profit affordable housing providers.

Land in Bowness was sold to Trellis Society for Community Impact, Erlton land was sold to Calgary Dream Centre and the Liberty Housing Organization scooped up land in Parkdale.

“To help address the housing crisis, it’s important we create more homes in all neighbourhoods throughout Calgary. That includes increasing the supply of non-market housing,” said Tim Ward, Manager of Housing Solutions with the City of Calgary, in a prepared media release.

“We are privileged to partner with these three non-profit affordable housing providers to benefit all Calgarians, especially those in greatest need of a safe place to call home.”

It’s expected that the land will allow these organizations to create roughly 100 new affordable homes in Calgary.

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said this type of land sale is exactly what was prescribed under the housing strategy, and something Calgarians can expect to see more of.

“This was direction that we had talked about earlier, as a council, but it’s great to show that the market is responding, that housing providers are looking for this and that it goes through an actual competitive process.”

The first two land sales resulted in the creation of 290 affordable homes, according to the City of Calgary.

Small pockets of land

Penner said she expects to see these smaller investments in communities across Calgary. They don’t have to be massive buildings with hundreds of units.

“Affordable housing by its very nature is not necessarily like the large towers like Bridgeland Place – a lot of it is actually smaller units,” she said.  

“There are some housing providers that actually have like individual houses that are embedded within communities and you wouldn’t even necessarily know.”

Many of the non-profit organizations don’t have a lot of extra capital, Coun. Penner said, making the small projects an easier path to creating more homes. She expects that Calgarians will see these projects pop up in newer communities, along with established communities – sort of embedded into newer builds moving forward.

“We do need it in all neighbourhoods,” she said.

Trellis is getting set to host the Trellis Society Soirée this Saturday – tickets still available – so they can continue to build shelter to deal with youth and family homelessness.

“Every night, an estimated 270 youth find themselves without a safe and stable place to call home. These young people face incredible challenges, including unsafe environments where they can end up being the victims of crime or child exploitation, and subsequently are at a higher risk for mental health and substance use issues,” said Trellis Society CEO Jeff Dyer.

Last year, the group helped more than 2,000 people, a 44 per cent increase from the prior year, the organization said.

“Calgary is in a housing crisis and as one of Calgary’s largest nonprofit providers of housing supports for young people and families, Trellis is actively working to be part of the solution,” Dyer says.

“But it takes more than a house to help someone overcome homelessness and escape poverty,” said Dyer.

“This is why Trellis is investing in services that equip people with the necessary skills and supports to never end up homeless again and ensure that their children will not face those same challenges in the future.”