Four Small Alberta Municipalities Make a Big Difference in Affordable Housing
Four small municipalities south of Edmonton created 24 new units of affordable housing for low-income households in two buildings by pooling their resources with federal and provincial funding. Opened in 2011 in the City of Leduc, Alberta, Leduc Terrace and its sister building Connect Crossing each have 12 affordable units and are owned and managed by Leduc Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing and services to low-income households and seniors.
“It can be difficult for small municipalities to deliver every program needed in their community. This cooperation and pulling together by the four municipalities has led to the creation of much-needed affordable housing in our region,” said Nancy Laing, Executive Director of Leduc Foundation.
The regional municipality of Leduc County has communities ranging in size from 770 residents in the smallest village to more than 27,000 in the City of Leduc. In 2006, a provincial task force that examined population growth and average housing costs in Leduc County identified three communities, the City of Leduc and the towns of Beaumont and Devon, as high need areas, a designation that made them eligible for Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding from the province. In 2007, the three communities agreed to pool their MSI funds and to transfer $1.5 million annually to Leduc Foundation as part of a three-year regional affordable housing plan. Leduc County contributed to the plan by financing a $3.5 million debenture in the third year.
After presenting their partnership plan to the province, the municipalities received additional funding support to build the affordable housing projects of Connect Crossing and Leduc Terrace. Each project received $800,000 in combined federal and provincial funding: $400,000 from the Canada – Alberta Affordable Housing Initiative and $400,000 through the stimulus phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan for new rental housing for low-income seniors.
Both developments are located within the urban core of the City of Leduc, contributing to the city’s goals of increasing housing density and reducing urban sprawl. The housing is also close to amenities, which is important in a city with no public transit system.
The two-storey buildings feature the same design, with 12 compact (515-square-foot) one-bedroom apartments. The apartments are intended for singles but each building has one slightly larger unit that can accommodate a couple. Each building also has five barrier-free apartments located on the ground level, with washrooms and kitchens that can be modified for wheelchair accessibility. For energy efficiency and reduced operating costs, the buildings are airtight and have low-flow plumbing fixtures.
Prior to moving to the City of Leduc, Dorothy Young had been living in Devon, Alberta, and would have to travel to Leduc for appointments and to visit her son. Thanks to the downtown location of her new residence, Leduc Terrace, she can now walk to her medical appointments.
“I live on a small, fixed income. This apartment is much more affordable than where I lived before and I like the layout. For one person, it’s exactly the right space,” Mrs. Young said.