Housing millions

Six Central Alberta communities are in line for nearly $4.8 million in affordable housing cash this year as part of a $278 million provincial government commitment.

Six Central Alberta communities are in line for nearly $4.8 million in affordable housing cash this year as part of a $278 million provincial government commitment.

Red Deer leads the way with $3.5 million and the rest will be divided among Sylvan Lake, Olds, Stettler, Rocky Mountain House and Lacombe.

Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Yvonne Fritz announced the funding on Monday and said it will be used to provide another 2,200 affordable housing units in Alberta.

The funding — up $24 million from last year — will be doled out among 39 communities, which must submit affordable housing plans to receive funding.

“It’s good news to receive these funds for affordable housing within our community,” said Roxana Nielsen Stewart, program co-ordinator housing for the City of Red Deer.

The city had been expecting $2.5 million this year and the additional $1 million was a pleasant surprise.

Previous provincial affordable housing money has been put to good use in the city. A 95-suite apartment building and seven townhouses were built at Convent Park by P&S Investments, which is led by Potters’s Hands Ministries Pastor Stan Schalk. P&S has built 260 affordable housing units in Red Deer in the last few years and is working on renovating the Rancher’s Valley Inn into an 85-unit affordable housing development.

Nielsen Stewart said the city expects to put out a call for housing proposals by the fall.

The provincial funding is divided into three parts. A $100-million pool of block funding was allocated to high-growth communities based on a formula that considers population growth, vacancy rates and average rents for a two-bedroom units.

Red Deer’s $3.5 million is its share of the block funding. Sylvan Lake gets $443,571, Lacombe $306,197, Olds $191,949, Rocky Mountain House $191,499, and Stettler $154,740.

Another $78 million is available to municipalities, non-profit organizations and private industry. It must be applied for through a request for proposals process.

The same system is used to distribute $100 million, which has been set aside for projects specifically aimed at providing housing to the homeless.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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