At their regular meeting today, City Council unanimously supported ten recommendations related to municipal government enabling actions that reflect the Community Housing and Homelessness Integrated Plan (CHHIP). Administration also presented an action plan for pursuing all ten enablers within the next three years, including some that will be actioned immediately.
The enabling actions were researched and analyzed extensively to provide optimized solutions for The City in relation to their impact in leveraging funds from other orders of government, as well as the difficulty and timeframe for implementation.
The recommendations are in response to a City Council motion from January 2022 directing The City’s Housing and Homelessness Integration Committee (HHIC) to expediate permanent supportive housing asset development and to explore and identify related funding and government enabling actions.
On February 6, 2023, Council directed administration to prioritize zoning and permitting processes for affordable housing and permanent supportive housing applications, specific to applications seeking Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Rapid Housing Initiative and Government of Alberta’s Affordable Housing Partnership funding.
Supported by case studies that demonstrate successful strategies used by other municipalities to incentivize and increase affordable and supportive housing stock, the approved recommendations provide the following direction:
- Surplus land: Administration will present a report to Council in late 2024 that contains a list of potentially suitable surplus lands or buildings that The City may consider using for affordable housing. A report containing a list of potentially suitable surplus lands or buildings that The City may consider using for affordable housing
- Financial incentives: A tax supported financial incentives program will be presented in November 2023 for Council consideration during mid-cycle budget review. Additionally, Administration will explore The City’s application for the new “Housing Accelerator Fund” through the Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation.
- Property tax exemptions: To ensure equitable and transparent implementation for non-Alberta Social Housing Corporation properties that provide affordable housing, a grant program in lieu of property tax exemptions will be presented in November 2024 as part of the next budget debate.
- Land designations: A full business case regarding land designation outlining financial feasibility and risks to The City’s Land Bank will be presented to Council in late 2024.
- Fast track development: Administration will prioritize zoning and permitting processes for affordable housing and permanent supportive housing applications as an immediate, long-term measure, specific to applications seeking funding from other orders of government.
- Waive municipal fees: Administration will ensure municipal fees are eligible expenses in the tax-supported financial incentives program that will be presented to Council in November 2023 as part of mid-cycle budget review.
The resolutions also endorse the following administrative actions:
- Provision of continued support to potential applicants to federal, provincial and municipal affordable housing programs.
- Development of key messages supporting The City’s advocacy for increased affordable housing stock.
- Development of new Land Use Bylaw for Council consideration in 2023.
- Exploration of conversion of commercial buildings for timeliness and affordability reasons..
“In addition to reflecting the Community Housing and Homelessness Integrated Plan (CHHIP), the approved enabling actions are the result of community input, local context, and promising practices and we expect them to make an impact towards our community’s housing affordable housing and permanent supportive housing goals,” said Ryan Veldkamp, Social Wellness & Integration Supports Superintendent.
More information on Housing & Homelessness efforts can be found at: https://www.reddeer.ca/about-red-deer/social-well-being-and-community-initiatives/housing-and-homelessness/.