Minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon defended her government's record on affordable housing after the NDP accused it of not taking advantage of all of the federal money available. (Photo from the Government of Alberta)

Alberta housing minister defends government’s record

NDP accused government of leaving millions in federal housing funding on the table

Alberta Seniors and Housing Minister Josephine Pon defended her government’s record on affordable housing after the NDP criticized the province for not doing enough.

NDP seniors and housing critic Lori Sigurdson said that the UCP government has not taken full advantage of available federal housing funding.

“The UCP has left million of dollars on the table in Ottawa while forcing more Albertans onto the street with their cuts to income support and rental supplements,” said Sigurdson in a news release on Tuesday.

The NDP says an Alberta Seniors and Community Housing Association analysis says the government has not used $187 million of available federal housing funding.

Pon said that is not the case. “Alberta’s government is maximizing every dollar possible from the federal government,” she said in an email response.

The province’s 10-year affordable housing strategy, Stronger Foundations, was designed to match funding for projects in the National Housing Strategy. Alberta is in line for up to $561 million from 2019-28 under the strategy.

The federal contribution is pre-set and will not increase to match provincial funding over its matching $561 million, says Pon.

The NDP said when comparing provincial averages Alberta housing providers and communities have received $1 billion less than what they should have.

That figure is based on the incorrect assumption that the federal government handed out housing funding on a per capita basis. The amount each province and territory got was based on a range of factors, says Pon.

In its recent budget, the federal government announced an additional $14 billion for its National Housing Strategy and says $72 billion will be spent by 2027-28.

Pon said the Alberta government is reviewing the federal budget and its housing commitments.

“I look forward to getting more details, particularly how much new funding will be allocated for Albertans.”

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