Rental vacancy at lowest levels since 2014, affordability gap grows: CMHC

VCC's executive director says Calgarians are being squeezed when they're already facing an affordability crisis

26 January 2023

CMHC released a Rental Market Report, noting that people living on low incomes are facing challenges because the share of affordable rental units remained limited. VCC's executive director discussed the issue of affordable housing with the Calgary Herald, calling it an affordability crisis. She explained the wait list for affordable housing in our city has grown from 4,600 in 2019 to 4,800 in December. She said for the province to meet its own goals on affordable housing, it would need to spend at least $90 million a year.

“It speaks very strongly to the fact that Calgarians and Canadians generally are getting squeezed on every possible level. Maybe somebody could afford increased rent if they weren’t also trying to accommodate increased food prices, increased gasoline prices, increased insurance prices, but we put all those together and of course what happens is that people’s lives have become rapidly unaffordable,” she said.

CBC Calgary also reported on the vacancy rate drop. Meaghon Reid said she wasn't surprised by the drop in vacancy or increased rents, but she remains concerned, especially for people who are facing precarious housing and may drift into homelessness.

"Because once you're in that space, it's really, really difficult to get you out. So if we can keep people where they're at, keep people housed, give them the appropriate income and supports, then at least we can get through this period of time while those builds start to come online." Reid said Calgarians need a mixture of long-term and immediate solutions, including rent caps, providing income supports and investments in affordable housing, and the province needs to make a $90-million investment immediately to reach its affordable housing goals.

Read the full articles: Rental vacancy at lowest levels since 2014, affordability gap grows: CMHC and Calgary's rental vacancy rate dropped to 2.7% in 2022 — the lowest since 2014

Now is the time to invest in affordable housing

Did you know that the waitlist for affordable housing doubled in the past decade? Access to affordable housing is a serious problem in our province.