Hello Chestermere-Strathmore readers
I wanted to chat with you about some initiatives that our government is taking over the next few years. Your tax dollars are hard at work as we launch the Affordable Housing Partnership Program, which allocates an additional $55 million over three years to support affordable housing projects throughout the province. This is only possible because of your resilience and recovery as we continue to rebound after these difficult years. Many of our friends and neighbours are struggling and hopefully we will be able to help by helping low-income families and individuals afford housing by expanding, building, and renovating housing units in our province. Here are some of the commitments that we as a province are looking at over the next 10 years. We are working towards seeing an increase of 25,000 affordable housing units through a program called Stronger Foundations that works with different housing partners and providers to help our communities and municipalities provide this needed housing. Here is how the budget will roll out. Budget 2022 provided the initial capital grant funding of 55.1 million over the next 3 years.
o 2022-23: $7 million
o 2023-24: $23 million
o 2024-25: $25.1 million
• Projects considered for funding will include:
o Mixed-income developments with an affordable and/or social housing component.
o Mixed-use developments with an affordable and/or social housing component; and/or
o Specialized housing.
• Types of projects include:
o An addition to or renovation of existing housing, resulting in a minimum five net new affordable housing units.
o Conversion of non-rental housing (e.g., hotel or commercial space).
o Re-development on the existing site involving demolition and new construction; or,
o Building new housing.
• Proposals for the first round of funding will be accepted from Dec. 7, 2022, to Jan. 11, 2023.
o Housing management bodies may submit a proposal as part of their annual business plan submission.
• Capital Plan 2022 allocates $281 million over three years to provide 2,300 new and regenerated affordable housing units. This will support more than 2,000 jobs across the province.
• A mix of new capital builds and rent subsidies will serve about 3,900 new households over the next three years.
Did you know that the Conference Board of Canada released new research showing that Alberta will continue to be a leader when it come to real GDP growth among the provinces? Alberta’s economy has momentum, and we must focus on even more job creation and diversification as we continue to be the economic engine of Canada. Again, this is because of the most important resource in our province, and that is You! Among all provinces, Alberta still has the highest natural growth rate, the youngest average age, and the lowest proportion of people aged 65 and over. This is something that job creators and investors look for. This is great news for Alberta and why we need to continue to focus on investment attraction, economic growth, diversification, and job creation.
Finally, we are hoping to expand the electricity rebate to include more customers even as the program is set to be extended by four months. The $50-per-month rebate program was designed to show up on the bills of more than 1.9 million homes, farms, and businesses for six months.
However, customers who are sub-metered, like some living in apartments and condominiums, were not eligible, so I am hoping to see this change happen as quickly as possible.
I am happy that the work that we have done to see benefits for vulnerable Albertans being adjusted for inflation. This was a huge part of my leadership campaign, and I am very happy to see these changes happen. I will have more details soon as to how Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), Income Support, Alberta Seniors Benefit and Alberta Child and Family Benefit payments will be boosted starting in the new year at a rate of six per cent. There is urgent need for those on fixed incomes.
Those receiving the Alberta Seniors Benefit will see the change on their January cheques, and those getting the Alberta Child and Family Benefit will see the increase in their first quarterly payment in February 2023.
It’s estimated the re-indexation of AISH, and Income Support will cost taxpayers about $45 million in 2022-23 and $173 million in 2023-24, while adjusting the Alberta Child and Family Benefit will cost about $7 million in 2022-2023 and $35 million in 2023-2024.
As always, we love to hear from you.