One Park Central, a purpose-built multifamily rental tower located at 510 12th Avenue SW. Image credit: Hines.
First, there is a need to build the physical structures that house people. The housing stock needs to be built, maintained and expanded to accommodate the population of renters. Maintaining this supply is important because if the existing rental housing becomes too scarce, there is a risk that it could initiate an escalating bidding war among those seeking to secure rental housing. This risks increasing costs for everyone and squeezing out the budgets of those with the least ability to pay.
This very situation occurred in Calgary’s not-so-distant past, with a vacancy rate of 1.4% pushing the city into a housing crisis. The current relative affordability of Calgary’s rental market is due in part to a number of purpose-built rental buildings that have added to the city’s supply.
Protections and Below-Market-Rate Programs
Secondly, there must be measures in place to prevent the rental market from pricing out those who need it the most. The very features that make housing desirable —proximity to shopping, transit, and other amenities— also tend to increase the price. This cannot be the only means of allocating housing. Those with lower incomes often have the greatest need for access to transit hubs and shopping, and including them in our planning process should be a priority. Including a proportionate number of below-market housing options in proximity to important services and amenities is a key to making our city more inclusive and equitable.
Reimagining Housing In Our Communities
This inclusive vision can be achieved only with the cooperation and coordination of our communities. I will champion a more equitable engagement process that knocks down barriers for citizens to be a part of city building discussions, combats misinformation and disinformation, and equips residents with better tools to critically navigate and participate in the planning system.
As your Councillor, l will advocate for and support increased funding for affordable housing on a mixed-income model, supporting increased development along major transit, transportation, and active transportation corridors. I will advocate for housing that is responsive to the needs of diverse communities, pursuing partnerships with the Provincial and Federal government to secure funding. I will champion policies that enable projects that skillfully integrate market and non-market housing, and ensure proportional investment for quality amenities in our communities.
The evidence is clear–-a thoughtful, targeted, and holistic successful housing strategy is not only financially fiscally responsible, but it will also improve the quality of life for Calgarians. That would be a true measure of success.