Hundreds of people are in Calgary Friday for the annual general meeting of the Co-operative Housing Federation (CHF) of Canada to discuss ways to stop cuts to low-income housing.
Saturday's meeting marked an opportunity to come together and address the challenges they are facing. One of those challenges is the loss of federal subsidies for low-income housing.
"I think one of the most important things that co-ops are facing today is the end of their mortgages, which also ends the subsidy that is paid by Canada Mortage and Housing," said CHF Canada's Carol Davis.
It's that subsidy from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) that Davis said allows the lower income members of a co-op to be able to afford to live there.
"Co-ops are struggling with how do they maintain that income mix which is so vital to the success of the co-op," Davis said. "
The government issued a statement Saturday reiterating the importance of parternships as a way to address housing needs.
"Earlier this year, important changes were made to [lending programs such as CMHC] that allow non-profit and co-operative housing sponsor groups to prepay their existing closed CMHC mortgages with a yield maintenance prepayment penalty consistent with private lending institutions," the statement said.
"This range of support is improving the quality of life for low-income individuals and families across Canada."
However, those at the meeting say it's not that simple.
"Co-ops are also doing their own thing to provide that subsidy internally but that means that some members pay more so that others can pay less," said Davis.
"We're negotiating, hopefully to see some assistance from government levels."
CHF Canada says roughly 50,000 Canadians live in co-op housing, and more than 1,000 low-income households live in roughly 64 projects across Alberta.