Funding announced to develop shipping container housing across rural Alberta
The development of affordable housing from repurposed shipping containers across rural Alberta received a boost on Tuesday, with the announcement of $10 million in funding from the federal government.
The YWCA Banff Courtyard Project is the first of eight projects that are planned across the province. The Courtyard is a 33-suite, three-storey building that can house up to 78 people. With studios, one-, two- and four-bedroom units, the federal government said it is ideal for women, new and extended families, individuals and people with accessibility needs.
Through the National Housing Strategy, the Canadian government committed $1.35 million to the Banff project. The Alberta government is contributing $2.6 million to it.
In the mountain town, the term “affordable” is challenging, said Connie MacDonald, CEO of YWCA Banff.
“It’s a much bigger issue — housing — than people really understand here,” she said. “So the fact that what we’re able to do it 20 per cent below market, part of it is because we’re building smaller units and building them three storeys up. So some of the building costs are less expensive, and then incorporating the technology of repurposed shipping containers is helping us to do that and keep the costs lower for people.”
Using shipping container homes in rural Alberta is new, MacDonald said.
“To support people who face barriers in finding suitable and affordable housing has been a real challenge,” she said.
MacDonald said the funding will enhance the features YWCA Banff already offers, including a childcare centre, river walkways, bike paths, transit access and support services.
“By bringing the Courtyard housing project right here, we think we can continue to cultivate that really special feeling of security, of belonging and all those factors that really enhance livability,” she said.
The Alberta Rural Development Network’s (ARDN) Sustainable Housing Initiative hopes to build up to 467 rental units over the next two years.
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