The federal government is “failing Albertans” in need of affordable housing, says Alberta’s minister of seniors community and social services.
Minister Jason Nixon, who serves as MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, along with the mayors of Alberta’s two biggest cities, Calgary’s Jyoti Gondek and Edmonton’s Amarjeet Sohi, announced they sent a joint letter to the new federal minister of housing, infrastructure and communities Sean Fraser on Tuesday.
The joint letter was sent to express “deep concerns with the recent funding decisions” around federal housing initiatives.
“Alberta, like all provinces in Canada, is facing a housing crisis and cost of living crisis that has created an urgent demand for supportive and affordable housing,” the letter stated.
“Alberta’s provincial and municipal governments share a commitment to working together with all orders of government to find innovative housing solutions and increase the supply of deeply affordable housing.”
Last month, only six of 39 Alberta applications were accepted through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Rapid Housing Initiative phase three funding streams.
“The funding to these Alberta projects for $38.3 million is only 2.5 per cent of the $1.5 billion RHI fund allocated to phase three and the 200 units funded for Alberta represents only 3.8 per cent of the 5,200 units funded through this initiative,” the letter stated.
Nixon, Gondek and Sohi are requesting two actions from the federal government:
- Reconsider funding allocation to unfunded RHI project stream applications.
- Develop an equitable funding model in which provinces and territories, and municipalities are appropriately resourced to deal with housing challenged.
Janis Irwin, Alberta NDP’s critic for housing, shared in the provincial government’s disappointment of the federal government’s “inadequate funding” for Alberta’s applications for the newest stream of the RHI.
“However, for Jason Nixon and the UCP to minimize their role in addressing this crisis is highly irresponsible,” said Irwin.
“We know we need immediate action on the housing crisis, and that requires all orders of government to come to the table. Now, they’re happy to point fingers elsewhere for their own failures.
“Over the last four years, the UCP have made cuts to affordable housing, to rental assistance, and have refused to meaningfully invest in critical areas like permanent supportive housing across the province.”