Action on affordable housing is needed now

We’ve assembled resources to help you tell Calgary City Council that affordable housing can't wait

28 August 2023

Every week it’s a new headline. Calgary’s leading the pack with rental rate increases, and our vacancy rate is the lowest in 14 years. As a renter and someone who advocates for affordable housing, I can tell you we’re not nearing an affordable housing crisis; we’re in one.

We often hear stories of the fears people have about housing. People are forced to prioritize rent over everything else because the prospect of eviction and seeking out new housing is too daunting. But forcing those living on low incomes to make these choices has consequences.

It means increased healthcare needs for someone being forced to skip meals or prescription medications to pay rent; it means someone experiencing domestic violence feeling like they can’t afford to leave an unsafe situation; it means someone falling deeper and deeper into depression because they can’t make ends meet; and someone unable to spend time with their children because they are working three jobs to survive.

And, with every rent increase, more and more people risk becoming unhoused.

Here's what we know

What can you do?

  • Tell your City Councilor that you support the Housing and Affordability Task Force's recommendations (include your address so it's clear you are a constituent in their ward) or share your experiences in a submission by 4 p.m. on September 5.
  • Speak at the Community Development Committee meeting talking about your experiences renting.
  • Show your support at the Community Development Meeting or at the rally in Olympic Plaza by wearing red to symbolize the urgency of the need for affordable housing.
  • Spread the word that you support creating a city with more affordable housing by posting these social media cards with the hashtags #YYCHousingNow #VoteYesYYCcc to raise awareness.

What can you say? 

  • I care about the affordability of rents in Calgary.
  • Alberta urgently needs all governments to increase funding for subsidized housing.
  • I support affordable housing, increases to rental subsidies, and implementing measures to encourage construction.
  • The City of Calgary’s new housing strategy is the right move for our city.
  • Here’s a document you can download to help you get started.

We need all orders of government to step up on housing. The federal government needs to commit more funding to shovel-ready Alberta-based projects and the provincial government needs to commit the necessary funding to meet its own affordable housing strategy.

Housing is a game-changer, and the Province’s own strategy says, “investment in housing is multiplied in economic returns.” We know this to be true. Beyond reducing poverty and homelessness, we know that affordable housing is also necessary to attract job creators and talent to our city.

Access to affordable housing is a tool against poverty in our city

Access to affordable and appropriate housing decreases the likelihood that families and individuals will fall into or remain in poverty. As housing should cost no more than 30% of a person’s total income, a ‘total housing spectrum’ should be developed to ensure all people are housed in a dignified way and homelessness is prevented.