WHEREAS historically, the Government of Alberta has funded provincial housing maintenance and repairs; and
WHEREAS presently, 380 provincially owned housing units are deemed uninhabitable due to disrepair, according to the standards of core housing established by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation; and
WHEREAS these units will remain vacant until sufficient funding is provided to the housing authorities for their repair; and
WHEREAS the 2021-2022 Ministry of Seniors and Housing report acknowledges that 82% of their housing stock is in fair or poor physical condition; and
WHEREAS 10,750 lodge units, with an average building age exceeding 30 years, have been assigned to housing management bodies (HMBs) for operation; and
WHEREAS these units provide housing to the province’s most vulnerable population; and
WHEREAS despite facing escalating costs due to unprecedented inflation, increased supply costs, utilities and carbon taxes, lodge operators have not received an increase in funding since 2018; and
WHEREAS funding allocation is determined by ministerial orders and the passing of the Government of Alberta’s budget, rather than being negotiated and secured through contractual agreements; and
WHEREAS this arrangement exposes HMBs to unnecessary financial risk and pressure to deliver programs without a guarantee of resources to operate them;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) advocate to the Government of Alberta (GOA) to retain fiscal responsibility for all provincial housing and to increase the grants provided to housing management bodies for operation and maintenance; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the RMA advocates to the GOA to ensure that municipalities and ratepayers are not held accountable for absorbing the operating and repair costs of these deteriorating provincially owned buildings.
The Alberta Affordable Housing Review Panel released a final report in October 2020 with recommendations that envision more privatization of social housing with the Government of Alberta acting as a funder and regulator rather than an owner and operator of social housing. The report also identifies that the demand for social housing is expected to increase in the future, while also acknowledging that 82% of the province’s social housing stock is in need of repair and maintenance.
The province’s Affordable Housing Partnership Framework currently does not regulate and ensure that housing units sold to private companies will remain as non-market housing after 20 years and therefore the Government of Alberta is running the risk of eliminating affordable housing units in the future. The demand for housing will continue to rise and the risk is that municipalities and ratepayers will have to absorb the costs of maintaining and operating social housing for seniors and those in need of housing.
With no additional funding from the Government of Alberta, the burden of increased costs relating to the program falls on all municipalities as municipal requisitions are responsible for funding the operating expenses of the Seniors Lodge program. Municipalities continue to see an annual increase to their requisitions from the housing management bodies (HMBs) in order to operate this program. This downloading of funding from the province to municipalities increases the financial burden, which creates extra pressures to sustain these programs.
Following the capital funding support of HMBs resolution that was passed at the 2023 RMA Spring Convention, a response was received from the Government of Alberta. They refer to a 2023/2024 Seniors Lodge Program Review that will be undertaken and advise the housing providers to “reach out to ministry staff to explore options for essential Capital Maintenance Renewal work”.
Click here to view the recent Housing Management Body Budget Survey completed in May 2023.
15-23: Capital Funding Support for Housing Management Bodies
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate to the Government of Alberta to increase funding to housing management bodies to alleviate the affordability crisis and provide funding for capital upkeep or replacement needed to sustain supportive living at senior lodges.
Click here to view the full resolution.