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City supports bid for seniors housing

City council has thrown its support behind a housing project that would bring 196 affordable care spaces for seniors to St. Albert. The project, which is being developed by Homeland Housing, comes with a $61.
2308-Homeland-Conceptual-Drawing
Homeland Housing has a proposal before the provincial government to build a 196-unit affordable housing development in St. Albert. If approved, the design may change.

City council has thrown its support behind a housing project that would bring 196 affordable care spaces for seniors to St. Albert. The project, which is being developed by Homeland Housing, comes with a $61.9-million price tag, 80 per cent of which would need to be funded by the province. That includes $6.5 million for six acres of land required for the project. Homeland Housing was formed earlier this year when Sturgeon and Westlock seniors foundations merged. The foundation jointly manages more than 700 units of seniors housing in St. Albert, Sturgeon and Westlock county areas. Coun. Wes Brodhead sits on Homeland Housing’s board on behalf of the City of St. Albert and was responsible for bringing the motion forward on Aug. 21. He said seniors in St. Albert currently wait up to three years before they can get into an affordable housing unit. “There is a need within the region served by Homeland Housing, and quite honestly the need is acute in St. Albert,” Brodhead said. On Aug. 21 city councillors voted for Mayor Nolan Crouse to write a letter to Alberta Seniors and Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson stating the community supports Homeland Housing’s proposal. Funding has not yet been secured but Dennis Magnusson, executive director for Homeland Housing, said the organization submitted a request to the provincial government in June and is now waiting on provincial approval. Members of the board also met with officials from Alberta Seniors and Housing, which has committed $1.2 billion in capital funding over five years to build and renovate affordable housing units across the province. “We’ve been talking about creating more community affordable housing and lodge spaces for a number of years now, and now we’ve made a specific request,” Magnusson said. If approved, the project will include 116 affordable housing units and 80 seniors lodge units. Twenty of the lodge units would be for seniors requiring nursing care while an additional 20 would be reserved as dementia care units. There would also be spaces for people with special needs. The building would have one, two and three-bedroom apartments as well as dining, kitchen and recreation areas. According to background information reviewed by councillors on Aug. 21, some of the financial options in the proposal include limiting housing costs to 30 per cent of a tenant’s income or offering units at 80 per cent market rent. Magnusson said support from city council helps to demonstrate a need in St. Albert for the project, which is competing for funding against housing developments across the province. Support from the broader community, such as service clubs and community groups, would help as well. “The fact is that we’re part of the capital region and there are tremendous housing needs within that area,” he said. “(Municipal support) has an important influence on government officials when they’re considering this. It’s not just a random idea – it’s something that has community support.”


April Hudson

About the Author: April Hudson

April is the editor of the St. Albert Gazette
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