Grande Prairie strives to be an inclusive and caring community, with a high quality of life for all residents. Part of achieving these goals is to ensure appropriate and affordable housing is available for all residents.
The draft Affordable Housing Strategy 2020-2030 outlines how the City will take advantage of its unique position to support the creation of non-market housing and improve housing affordability in the community. The Strategy is under development in consultation with the community and incorporates extensive research into the local housing context.
The draft Strategy identifies the following three goals:
- Be a catalyst for the provision of affordable housing in the community,
- Increase the supply of affordable housing; and
- Improve access to market housing.
A key target outlined in the Strategy is the addition of at least 359 new affordable housing units to Grande Prairie by 2030.
The City is currently refining the scope of the draft Strategy to ensure alignment with current community needs, following the economic upheavals experienced by the community in recent years.
The City's Role
The City provides leadership through development and implementation of strategy, advocacy with each order of government, and direct municipal support for local affordable housing providers.
There are three main ways that the City can influence the supply of affordable housing including: policy incentives, direct investments or providing expertise and support through partnerships.
Examples of City involvement in affordable housing include but are not limited to:
- Providing rental supplement funding
- Seeking and managing provincial and federal housing grants
- Providing guidance and support for housing development
- Transfer, sale at below market cost or affordable lease of City land
- Providing low-cost development loans
- Waiver of fees
- Adjustments to zoning to decrease parking requirements
About Affordable Housing
Affordable housing is about whether a household is able to meet its housing needs while still being able to afford other essentials. Affordable housing is not just about cost. It is also important to consider if the house has enough room for the people living there and what condition it is in.
Housing is assessed using Core Housing Need, a measure that considers three factors:
Affordability – Is the cost of housing less than 30% of household income or could the household afford a market rental that meets the other 2 standards without spending more than 30% of their income;
Adequacy – Does the dwelling require any major repairs; and,
Suitability – Are there enough bedrooms for the people living there.
Who does housing affordability affect?
Housing affordability can affect anyone, but there are some groups that are more likely than others to face challenges with housing.
For example, home renters are much more likely to experience core housing need than home owners. Within the renter population, groups more likely to be in core housing need than others are, Indigenous households, newcomers, seniors, female single parents, and people with disabilities.
How to access affordable housing
There are many organizations in Grande Prairie that assist residents in accessing suitable housing. Some key contacts include: