The urgent need for the City of Airdrie to begin to address the issue of affordable housing became apparent in 2004 as the community’s population started to explode. Simultaneously the cost of rent and housing prices began to soar as vacancy rates plummeted. Almost overnight, the City’s social service agencies noticed a serious spike in clients presenting with housing issues and the lack of options available to them.
By 2007, it became apparent that the problems with housing that were occurring in Airdrie were being experienced in communities around the province and after an election in early 2008 the provincial government formed the new ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. A mandate of ‘developing 11,000 affordable housing units by 2012’ and grant money in the form of municipal block funding was being distributed to qualifying municipalities, including Airdrie. The City needed an organization to oversee the management of the funds and to implement the City’s Affordable Housing Plan. Airdrie Housing Limited was established in January 2008 and officially incorporated as a non-profit corporation, overseen by a nine-seat Board of Directors in August of 2008. The Board of Directors consists of two representatives from Council, a senior city administrator and six members of the community at large.
Identifying and Meeting Objectives
Currently Airdrie Housing Limited is putting the objectives set out in the City of Airdrie Affordable Housing Plan into operation with the Capital Enhancement Program funding agreement with the Province. These initiatives include the purchase of new or existing units in multi-family projects and a made-in-Airdrie rent supplement program. The philosophy behind Airdrie Housing Limited’s affordable housing strategy is to own a variety of unit types and sizes in strategic locations in the community close to schools, shopping, medical facilities, transportation and recreation. We use a mixed-market philosophy with a 70/30 split between non-market and market tenants. At the present time we have 44 units of housing available and administer a rent supplement program to 85 families per month. Since our programs began in 2009, we have helped close to 700 people meet their housing needs.
Airdrie Housing Limited works closely with Community Links to provide intake service and assessment of those in need of housing. Also a priority is a commitment with the Airdrie Rotary Club and Community Links to assist with housing for Stage Three survivors of domestic violence.