A new landmark policy approved last week by Calgary city council will allow the municipal government to sell city-owned land to non-profit developers for the dedicated purpose of creating new affordable housing.
Beginning this year, city staff can negotiate the sale of up to 10 parcels of city-owned land to non-profit affordable housing developers.
The strategy will help the city meet its goal of filling the crucial gap of creating over 15,000 new affordable housing units, which would meet the national average of non-market housing in urban centres.
According to the city, one-in-five households in Calgary are finding difficulty with covering their housing costs.
“This is a historic milestone. We’re proud of our success in engaging the non-profit sector to increase production of new housing in Calgary,” said Sarah Woodgate, director of Calgary Housing and President of Calgary Housing Company, in a statement.
“We have a real need for more affordable housing in this city, and we have organizations with development pipelines ready to partner with us to help fill that need. We’re very excited to make more of these developments a reality, we’re thrilled to have found a cost-effective way to do it.”
City’s council’s approval of the new policy follows the successful pilot program between 2017 and 2018, when the municipal government sold six land parcels to non-profit partners for development. When completed, these pilot sites will provide over 160 new homes, with more than half of the units set aside for the city’s homeless population.
The city-owned land is sold to developers at a discount, which in turn helps non-profit developers leverage additional funding.
Lands sold under the pilot program were sold at a combined $6.4 million discount, and this helped developers leverage over $30 million in funding from other sources.