Edmonton's mayor and local affordable housing advocates are praising the federal government's newly announced national housing strategy.
In a packed downtown conference room, housing advocates met for a luncheon organized by Homeward Trust Edmonton on Wednesday.
As the crowd listened to speakers and politicians, the federal government was officially announcing the details of its 10-year, $40-billion plan at a news conference in Toronto.
"The need for more affordable housing is so huge," said Susan McGee, CEO of Homeward Trust.
"We've been waiting, quite frankly, for a long time for the shoe to drop for some announcement to clarify what is the scale of the commitment [so] we can get on with planning."
The federal plan focuses on homelessness, the shortage of new housing units and repairing existing units over the next decade. It includes:
- Building 100,000 new affordable housing units.
- Repairing 300,000 affordable housing units.
- Cutting chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.
- Protecting 385,000 households from losing an affordable home.
- Providing 300,000 households with financial assistance through the Canada Housing Benefit.
- Removing 530,000 households from housing need.
Greg Dewling, CEO of Capital Region Housing Corporation, called it an exciting day.
"The federal government bringing forward a national housing strategy will give us an idea of where the funding is coming from, how we are going to work together, what's the policy environment to help these families get into a home they can afford," Dewling said.
"Here in Edmonton over the next three or four years, we hope to add a thousand new homes to the community that [are] affordable."
At city hall, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson was pleased with the plan.
"This is a phenomenal day for cities and for housing, and especially for people in need," Iveson said.
"The overall numbers — 40 billion over over 10 years for housing — is the kind of magnitude that all of the big city mayors have been calling for for some years now," Iveson said.
"So, provided the province step up and match — and it sounds like Alberta is keen to do so — I think that it's the start of a very positive turn for housing across the country, especially in big cities."