I was proud to help lead the City Council initiative on Affordable Housing during my first term on council. It was focused on ensuring that we can provide affordable and accessible housing for Edmontonians whose needs are not met in the market place. This initiative is based on the belief that access to housing is a basic human right.
Right now, the City is in a difficult spot in terms of affordable housing. In 2011, approximately 47,000 renter households spent more than 30% of their household income on shelter costs. More than 24,000 renters spent more than 50%, indicating severe housing affordability issues.
While the City has made progress on this issue by generating 3000 new affordable housing units since 2006, there is still much to be done to ensure that every Edmontonian has a safe place to live.
Early this year our Council passed policy on the City’s role in affordable housing, outlining our goals for the future. These include:
- Increasing the supply of affordable housing in all areas of the City
- Maintaining the supply of affordable and market rental housing
- Enabling stable residential tenancies
- Anticipate, recognize, and coordinate action to respond to housing needs
- Advocating to our provincial and federal partners to share the load
The Affordable Housing Policy is also closely tied to the work of the Mayor’s Task Force for the Elimination of Poverty, EndPoverty Edmonton. Their strategy to end poverty in Edmonton within a generation will be released in late September, and can be read at www.endpovertyedmonton.ca. I’d encourage you to take a look through the report to learn how we can all do our part to end poverty and homelessness in Edmonton for good.
I have already been working hard to engage community and business leaders across South Edmonton to work collaboratively to help bring affordable and permanent supportive housing to our part of the city. We all need to do our part.
I look forward to continuing this work.