The Calgary Housing Company (CHC) has been given a financial shot in the arm by the province, which will help it reopen a number of social housing units it has had to close.
Since April, it has closed 245 units of social housing to meet health and safety standards because of a lack of funds.
“We were unable to continue reoccupying units when they become vacant because there is insufficient funding in our maintenance budget available to do that,” CHC president Sarah Woodgate said.
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The province is providing $4.5 million to deal with maintenance issues to get a number of those units reopened as the city-owned corporation deals with a wait list of nearly 4,000 households.
The CHC provides homes to nearly 25 thousand people, with several levels of rental housing– from near-market rents to deeply-subsidized social housing.
Woodgate said Thursday the economic downturn has caused high vacancy rates in the near-market value units, which has reduced rental revenue.
“So, the rents we receive from those homes actually pay for and subsidize; rather than go to profit, they pay for us to be able to provide homes for lower-income households.”
Total rental revenue is down $2 million due to a combination of factors, including the high vacancy rate and the fact that subsidized housing rent has also dropped, Woodgate said.
“People living in those buildings are paying rent geared to income and unfortunately, with the economic downturn, people have experienced job loss– which has created less revenue.”
The CHC said it will be asking the province for $22 million for its 2018 operating budget– a $10 million boost from last year– in the hope that no other housing units will have to be closed.