Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson is calling on the federal and provincial governments to provide $1.127 billion for affordable housing in the city over the next five years, according to a CBC report.
"Housing pays for itself," Iveson said at a news conference at a northwest Edmonton seniors’ home on Monday. "Every billion invested in housing will grow Canada's economy by $1.4 billion."
There are “shovel-ready” projects that would provide 5,000 new affordable housing units in the city as soon as the money is in place from the federal and provincial governments, said Iveson.
Those units would include 3,654 apartments, 920 permanent supportive housing suites, 180 secondary suites and 233 seniors’ apartments, according to a city news release. The city council has already approved $140 million to support these developments.
Greg Dewling, CEO of Capital Region Housing, said that there are approximately 6,000 families that “sit” on their waiting list. Some families, according to him, move from shelter to shelter as they cannot afford to pay rent for a permanent home, while others struggle to provide the basic necessities.
Meanwhile, Susan McGee, CEO of Homeward Trust, said that the city has committed to identifying sites for permanent supportive housing for the homeless and those considered difficult to house. This is because people continue to try to survive on the streets and in the river valley even during the city’s longest cold stretch in recent history, according to her.