The province has struck a task force on affordable housing in Alberta that will look at solutions for homelessness, subsidized rentals and programs to help more Albertans buy homes.

The task force, announced Thursday by Housing Minister Ray Danyluk, will be chaired by Len Webber, MLA for Calgary-Foothills.Members will travel to nine Alberta communities later this month to talk about the issue.

The task force has 16 members, including the chair, andis made up of MLAs, councillors and representativesof industryand the non-profit sector.

Danyluk said they want to hear from the general public as well as people who deal with the problem on a daily basis.

"We are asking municipalities, and agencies and groups that directly work with affordable housing and the homeless –and Métis housing – to come to the meeting and make presentations. In the afternoon portion, we have open discussion where any individual can come in and make a presentation."

The task forcewill publish a final report in March.

Real estate values and rents have soared across the province in recent years, leading to worries Alberta will be less attractive to workers desperately needed to fill labour shortages.

Danyluk's mandate letter from new Premier Ed Stelmachoutlined affordable housingas the No. 1 issueStelmach wanted addressed within the first 45 days of his leadership.

The task force will hold community meetings in Calgary, Edmonton, Elk Point, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Hinton, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer from Feb. 16 to 28.