Lethbridge city council approves conditional funds for 3 affordable housing projects

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Lethbridge city council approves conditional funds for 3 affordable housing projects
WATCH: Lethbridge city council is throwing its support behind three rapid housing projects. It’s approved conditional funding for the proposed initiatives as part of requests made by the local organization behind them for federal cash. Erik Bay takes a closer look at what comes next. – Feb 8, 2023

Nearly $5 million could be going to three affordable housing projects in Lethbridge after city council unanimously granted conditional approval.

“It’s a big step forward for us to be able to move ahead with our project and be able to take on what’s coming next. We’re very excited and very pleased with council’s decision,” said Kelly Stickel of MyCityCare Lethbridge, one of the groups to request funds.

“We’re getting about three to four request a week for housing and it’s a big, big need in our community and we want to do what we can to meet that need.”

MyCityCare is looking to build a 76-unit complex with 176 bedrooms for women and children on the city’s west side.

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Two north Lethbridge projects were also approved: Blood Tribe Housing targeting Indigenous individuals and families with it’s proposed 52-unit, 134-bedroom project; and a 12-unit apartment building with 24 bedrooms for Indigenous women by the Blackfoot Family Lodge Society.

The city will be funding a portion of all three projects, conditional to each project also receiving federal support through the Rapid Housing Initiative.

“Although housing is not a municipal — is not in its wheelhouse, we’ll say — we need to understand these individuals do live in our community and so we want to do all we can to support those that are looking and needing housing,” mayor Blaine Hyggen said.

Almost $2 million from the city would go to the Blackfoot Family Lodge Society, with $1.5 million for both Blood Tribe Housing and MyCityCare, totaling $4,970,240 in municipal contributions.

The total cost for the three projects is around $40 million.

“This $4.97 million out of the close to $40 million is definitely a win,” Hyggen said.

“To support a cause like this and not have it burdened all by the taxpayer, this is extremely important.”

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The need for more affordable housing has become a consistent narrative in Lethbridge after several encampments appeared over the spring and summer.

The three groups will now apply to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for the federal funding.

According to administration, when CMHC scores potential projects, around 20 per cent is based on contributions from other levels of government.

“We think that (these three projects) are going to do really well in the application process and we’re certainly hopeful that we have built affordable housing here in the near future,” said Andrew Malcolm, urban revitalization manager for the city.

“We’re confident that we will get the grant applications,” Blood Tribe Housing chair Winston Day Chief said.

The City’s conditional $4.9 million would be funded with $3.5 million from item D-32 Affordable Housing 2022-2031 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget, $919,048 from the Affordable Housing Capital Grant Program and $551,192 from funding held in reserve as matching funds for future projects from the 2022-2031 CIP.

The application deadline for the Rapid Housing Initiative is March 15, 2023.

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