The federal government is shelling out $10 million to support the Alberta Rural Development Network’s Sustainable Housing Initiative.
The initiative will see the development of at least eight energy-efficient affordable housing shipping container projects.
In a news release, the government said the initiative’s first phase will create up to 467 rental units over the next two years.
“If you don’t have a home, it’s very difficult to build a life. Investment in affordable housing is critical to ensuring that Canadian communities continue to thrive. Our government is proud to support innovative organizations like ARDN as they work to design efficient, forward-thinking housing solutions that not only work here in Alberta, but could easily be replicated in rural communities across the country. Cultivating bold new ideas like this is exactly what the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund is all about,” said Kent Hehr, member of Parliament for Calgary Centre, in a statement.
Similar projects are planned across the country.
Officials said the YWCA Banff Courtyard Project is the first under this new initiative. The 33 unit, three-storey cost-effective project will meet net-zero targets for energy efficiency and provide affordable rental housing for up to 78 residents who face barriers to finding suitable accommodation, according to the government.
“The Courtyard will be ideal for women, new and extended families, individuals, and with a least four suites that are barrier free, people with accessibility needs,” it said.
“Over the past three years, our Sustainable Housing Initiative team has been working hard to break down barriers and support the efforts of organizations and municipalities who want to increase their community’s inventory of affordable housing. Through our understanding of rural needs, we have created a process that will help rural communities successfully develop affordable housing while saving time and money. I believe the YWCA Banff Courtyard project will act as a landmark development that will redefine how affordable housing is built in rural communities across Canada,” said Joshua Bénard, director of the sustainable housing initiative at ARDN.
The government of Alberta is contributing up to $2.6 million to the YWCA Courtyard project.
Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald, including 12 years as a senior business writer.