Lacombe city council backs affordable housing projects

Lacombe city council has got behind a pair of local affordable housing initiatives.

Lacombe city council has got behind a pair of local affordable housing initiatives.

Habitat for Humanity received $75,000 from the city, boosted by $225,000 in provincial government grants based on a 25/75 split. The money from Lacombe’s Affordable Housing Fund will be used to build a pair of duplexes in the community.

Another $80,000, using the same cost-sharing formula, will come out of the fund for a five-bedroom Supported Independence Housing project by Central Alberta Youth Unlimited. The Lacombe group is buying a five-bedroom house to provide a temporary home for four men between the ages of 16 and 24 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Char Lockhart, housing co-ordinator for Central Alberta Youth Unlimited, said the funding help allows them to purchase the home and begin work on turning it into a place where people can be helped to improve their lives.

“We’ve been working for three years to get the project off the ground. So that was kind of the final boost we needed to actually get moving forward,” said Lockhart.

The total cost of the project will be about $323,000, of which $90,000 has been lined up. They will carry a mortgage on the home and would welcome any other donations.

It is expected the house will be ready by fall. A second phase of the project will kick off shortly after that to raise money for housing for eight to 10 men and women that will hopefully be available next year.

Habitat for Humanity’s project will cost about $868,000 and the goal is to have the money together by an official sod turning ceremony set for Aug. 21 that will be attended by Alberta Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell and her husband. A formal garden party will follow that evening at Parkland Nurseries on Hwy 11, just east of Red Deer.

Habitat for Humanity executive director Brian Brake said the $300,000 Lacombe donation will pay for the lot costs.

Since 1994, Habitat for Humanity’s Central Alberta branch has built 25 homes — 23 of in Red Deer — for worthy low-income families. That works out to be a little over one home a year.

Earlier this year, the non-profit society said it wanted to dramatically boost the number of homes built this year to 10.

Brake said he has already handed over keys to five homes in Red Deer and Lacombe will bring the number up to nine.

Council approved the housing support based on recommendations from the community’s Affordable Housing Committee.

Provincial affordable housing grants were received from 2007 to 2009 and held for suitable projects.

“We’ve been holding on to this money for a number of years,” said Guy Lapointe, Lacombe community and economic development manager. “We have now identified some projects we can use this funding towards.”

In the meantime, Lacombe undertook to determine its local needs and in 2014, a Lacombe Housing Plan and an Affordable Housing Strategy were adopted.

Lapointe said money remains in the city’s affordable housing fund that can be used for future projects.

For more information on donating to the projects, go to www.cayu.ca and habitatreddeer.ca.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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