Affordable housing in Alberta a priority for minister, advocates

Finding solutions to Alberta's affordable housing crunch is at the top the premier's to-do list for the new municipal affairs minister.

Finding solutions to Alberta's affordable housing crunchis at the topthe premier'sto-do list for the new municipal affairs minister.

In a letter sent to Ray Danyluk last week, Premier Ed Stelmach outlined several specific priorities for the minister that include the creation of a housing task force to develop a plan for increasing the availability of affordable housing.

Glen Craig, president of the Alberta Housing Coalition, says the advocacy group is ready to help.

He believes the initiative will be successful as long as the government works with the private and public sectors and non-profit organizations.

"We're focused on an action plan," Craig told CBC News. "We want to help put whatever input we can [into developing] a provincial housing strategy which is lacking right now — and move forward with them to solve all the issues."

The coalition has a list of suggestions for the municipal, provincial and federal governments, Craig said, adding that there is no reason for the government to start from scratch.

Craig hopes the province is open to listening to all suggestions once the housing task force is in place.

"A lot of the things that we've been working on are private-sector involvement — ways to encourage them, whether it be through tax incentives or grants — or just looking at new methods of technology in construction," he said. "There are a lot of private-sector opportunities out there that we think we can bring to the table for evaluation."

Craig believes the Alberta government's initiative will encourage the other levels of government to get involved as well.