Lacombe getting affordable housing options

Projects will increase number of supportive housing options for youth, and much-needed one bedroom apartment rentals for individuals with lower incomes 

 LACOMBE – Following a Request for Expression of Interest process, Council yesterday approved a total of $460,000 for two proposed affordable housing projects. 

“Council is pleased to endorse the Affordable Housing Steering Committee’s recommendations to support these two projects,” said Mayor Grant Creasey. “We recognize the need to increase the range of housing choices and promote rental inventory growth, including a wider range of properties designated for subsidies to address the current affordable housing needs in Lacombe.” 

“Both of these programs are excellent developments for Lacombe,” said Chief Administrative Officer Matthew Goudy. “The first delivers much needed affordability in our downtown core, while the other supports a program with a demonstrated history of success.” 

“I am happy for council’s decision to approve these two projects, which address the housing needs identified in the city’s updated Affordable Housing Strategy,” said Outi Kite, chair of the Affordable Housing Steering Committee. “These projects will increase the number of supportive housing options for the youth, as well as much-needed one bedroom apartment rentals for individuals with lower incomes.” 

The Central Alberta Youth Unlimited (CAYU) will receive an $80,000 grant for their proposed YU-Turn Girl’s House, a supportive living home for at-risk girls and women, to assist them with the development of skills needed to move successfully into adulthood. The program is already operational and modelled on the successful Yu-Turn Boys Supportive Housing program and will house three female residents along with the House Parents. 

 CAYU currently rents the home that hosts the girl’s program. The grant will be used as a down payment to purchase the home. When the home is purchased, the mortgage cost will be lower than the existing lease payments, and the savings will be passed along making the home more affordable to its occupants. 

“Thank you to the City of Lacombe and the Affordable Housing Committee for the opportunity to better serve our youth and community,” said CAYU Housing Director Penny Ure. “We have started our capital campaign to purchase the home, and are hopeful to have more community support come alongside and help us better serve those who are vulnerable.” 

Tricon Developments Inc. will receive a $380,000 grant to facilitate its affordable housing project in the former Lacombe Hotel, which the developer recently purchased with the intent to renovate the upper two floors into larger affordable rental housing units. 

The redesign will create 15 one-and-two bedroom affordable housing suites to support the needs of a variety of tenants. The building’s main floor will continue to operate as a commercial storefront. 

The affordable housing grant will be used to lower the upfront renovation costs, which will reduce cost-recovery requirements. This will allow for per unit rents to be reduced to prescribed affordable housing levels (at least 10 per cent below market value) and assures long-term project sustainability. 

Tricon Developments is also seeking a local community agency to work in partnership with to operate the affordable rental units. The agency would manage the application process to ensure qualified candidates are allowed to rent the units, and would act in many respects as the landlord. 

“The Tricon Group is looking forward to addressing the needs of our community, and is pleased to work with the City in delivering a much needed resource,” said Darcy Stingel, marketing coordinator for Tricon Developments Inc. 

In 2019, Council tasked the Affordable Housing Steering Committee with identifying priority project proposals aligning with the City’s updated Affordable Housing Strategy. A Request for Expression of Interest was released to developers, builders and non-profit organizations to generate a list of suitable projects for the community, and two were received. 

The Committee compared both proposals to the City’s Affordable Strategy goals and confirmed program fit. The Planning and Development Department also confirmed both projects are permitted uses in their locations under the Land Use Bylaw. 

Costs for the proposals together equal the available funding of $460,000 for the program, made possible through a $371,500 provincial grant and an $88,500 contribution from the municipality.