Aging affordable housing gets $18M boost for repairs and renovations

Ottawa and the Alberta government are investing $18 million towards repairing and renovating social housing in Calgary. It will be spent on roof repairs, heating, ventilation and plumbing at 120 seniors' and low-income facilities across the city.

'Many units are in such disrepair,' minister Lori Sigurdson says

Lori Sigurdson, minister for seniors and housing, announced $18 million in funding from the provincial and federal governments for repairs to affordable housing in Calgary. (CBC)

Affordable housing units in Calgary for low-income families and seniors will soon be receiving some major and much-needed repairs and renovations.  

An $18 million investment, split by the provincial and federal government, will be spent fixing social housing units throughout Calgary — including heating, ventilation and plumbing repairs, as well as renovations and replacements of roofs and elevators.

"Many buildings in Alberta are showing their age. Many units are in such disrepair that they are closed," said Lori Sigurdson, the provincial government's minister for seniors and housing.

Sigurdson made the funding announcement Wednesday morning at Bridgeland Place.

Owned by the City of Calgary and operated by the Calgary Housing Company, Bridgeland Place will receive $648,000 for suite renovations, replacing shut-off valves, a roof inspection and sidewalk replacement.

Similar projects will take place in more than 120 buildings in Calgary for seniors, community and special needs housing, owned or operated by 29 social housing providers.

Sigurdson noted that Alberta is one of only three provinces without an affordable housing strategy.

Coun. Brian Pincott, who is also chair of the Calgary Housing Company, said the repair costs are higher than they should be, as funding from governments hasn't kept up.

He welcomes the injection of funds.

"For the first time, at the provincial, municipal and federal levels, we have government partners who are understanding that this isn't really about bricks and mortars and how we build buildings, this is actually how do we support people," he said. 

The funding was made available through the 2016 - 2018 Social Infrastructure Fund, a two-year federal and provincial agreement to help Albertans in need of affordable housing.

With files from Scott Dippel