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UCP appoints panel to review affordable housing in Alberta

Horizon View affordable housing development reached completion in Calgary in June 2020.
Horizon View affordable housing development reached completion in Calgary in June 2020. Credit: Horizon Housing

The Alberta government says an expert panel has been put together to review affordable housing in the province.

The independent panel includes 10 people and is being chaired by MLA Mickey Amery, the UCP said in a news release Thursday.

Its mandate is to “conduct a review that will provide recommendations to transform affordable housing,” and “identify ways to make the affordable housing system better serve Albertans in need as well as make more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

Read more: Alberta woman frustrated to learn provincial review means she is not on rent supplement program waitlist

Minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon said the province’s affordable housing system has to keep up with increasing demand.

“This review is the foundational piece of our housing transformation work,” Pon said.

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“Their recommendations will help inform a new vision for affordable housing in Alberta.”

Amery said over the next few months, the panel will hear from diverse groups and go through research to come up with ways to “better provide housing for Albertans in need.”

The panel will consider the following in its review:

  • The role the Government of Alberta plays in providing affordable housing
  • Simplifying or easing regulatory structures that create costs and red tape for housing providers
  • Gaps in the current affordable housing system
  • Innovative approaches that will enable government and its partners to meet increasing demand for affordable housing

The UCP said the panel will also gather submissions from Albertans that are most in need of affordable housing, and speak to groups interested in affordable housing, like seniors, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, people experiencing homelessness and people with disabilities.

Read more: Affordable housing closure concerns over Alberta government’s $53M cuts to maintenance funding

According to the government, about 110,000 people are living in affordable housing in the province, and more than 19,000 homes are on waitlists.

The panel is made up of the following people:

  • Mickey Amery, chair – MLA for Calgary-Cross
  • Paul Boskovich – president, Genstar Development Company
  • Lauren Ingalls – chief administrative officer, Westwinds Communities
  • Jeffrey Johnson – consultant and former Alberta MLA and cabinet minister
  • Sam Kolias – co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Boardwalk REIT
  • Javaid (Jerry) Naqvi – chairman and founder, Cameron Development Corporation
  • Marcia Nelson – executive fellow, University of Calgary
  • Raymond Swonek – chief executive officer, Greater Edmonton Foundation Seniors Housing
  • Dr. Sasha Tsenkova – professor, University of Calgary
  • Rachelle Venne – chief executive officer, Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women

Read more: Affordable housing development reaches completion in southwest Calgary

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Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, meetings, presentations and engagement will be done primarily through virtual technology, the government said.

The panel’s report is due to the submitted to the government by Sept. 30.