Investing in community: community land trusts and affordable housing in Calgary
thesisposted on 25.05.2021, 07:15 by Leah Dow
The cost of affordable rental units in Calgary is amongst the highest in Canada, despite a rental vacancy rate that is 3 percent higher than the national average (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2017). Nearly 1 in 5 Calgary households are struggling to pay for shelter costs and as of 2016, more than 42,000 households were spending more than 50 percent of their incomes on shelter, putting this population at a greater risk of becoming homeless due to job loss or from some other unexpected financial hardship (City of Calgary, 2017). Counter to popular belief, economically depressed communities with weak rental and housing markets such as Calgary following the 2015 collapse of the oil and gas sector can be subject to a critical lack of affordable housing. A soft housing market cannot make up for an insufficient range of affordable and non-market housing options. In other cities facing similar challenges, especially those in the United States, the formation of Community Land Trusts has proven to be a viable solution for providing both affordable rental and affordable ownership opportunities for residents who are struggling to afford the cost of housing in their area. This paper explores whether the Community Land Trust model is an appropriate tool to augment Calgary’s limited supply of affordable housing and will end with five recommendations to encourage the adoption of the Community Land Trust model in Calgary. Key Words: affordable housing, affordable ownership, Calgary, community land trust, small-scale affordable development.