Calgary's affordable housing could pose health and safety risks, says report

An audit of the aging units owned and operated by the Calgary Housing Company says some could pose 'health and safety risks' to tenants.

Many city and province-owned properties have not been inspected in years

Ward 11 Coun. Brian Pincott says it could cost $40-million just to maintain Calgary's aging affordable housing units over the next decade. (CBC)

A new city report going before committee on Thursday says thousands of affordable housing properties in Calgary have not been inspected for years.

"The majority of these buildings are over 35 years old and could pose a health and safety risk to the tenants if lifecycle maintenance is not appropriately conducted," according to an audit of the assets managed by the Calgary Housing Company.

The city-owned Calgary Housing Company (CHC) manages 7,012 affordable housing units in Calgary.

Of those, it owns 1,771 — the rest belong directly to the City of Calgary and the province. However, CHC does not receive funding to inspect the condition of those units.

"It's those ones that haven't had the full building condition assessment and it's those ones that we're looking to the province and the city to actually pay for. It's their property," said Ward 11 Coun. Brian Pincott.

Given their age, auditors identified provincially and city-owned properties as having "potential safety, reputational and financial risks."

Pincott, who is also the chair of CHC, says if action isn't taken soon Calgary's affordable housing units will become a liability.

"In the next 10 years in Calgary, just to maintain — not to increase, not to deal with the waiting list of 3,500 people — we're talking about $40-million," he said.

  • Listen to Calgary Eyeopener host, David Gray, in conversation with Ward. 11 Coun. Brian Pincott
Thousands of city and province-owned buildings haven't been inspected in years, even decades. We talk to Brian Pincott, the Chair of the Calgary Housing Company, about what that means for tenants. 7:17

To mitigate future risks, the report recommends the CHC seek clarification about its responsibilities for the affordable housing assets it manages on behalf of the city and the province.

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