The High Cost of Waiting: Tenant-Focused Solutions to Enhance Housing Affordability [2020-02]

The High Cost of Waiting: Tenant-Focused Solutions to Enhance Housing Affordability sets out to document the impacts on quality of life for households who have to wait for prolonged periods of time and find the best solutions for reducing wait times and improving housing affordability. Excessively long waits for affordable rental accommodations has been one of the most intractable challenges facing low income Edmonton households.

About 100 people currently on the Capital Region Housing wait list attended focus groups and provided email responses describing their experiences of having to wait in many cases for years to obtain help paying their rents, and the toll this is taking on their mental and financial health.

The report notes the federal government is proposing a Canada Housing Benefit with matching federal and provincial dollars as a key component of a National Housing Strategy. The ESPC report contains specific recommendations on how such a benefit should be funded and designed to best shrink wait lists. Funding should be sufficient to allow all households who qualify based on their household income receive rental assistance on a timely basis, similar to what is currently the norm for existing programs like child care subsidies and income support.

Nevertheless, there is uncertainty about the Alberta government’s commitment to its share of the funding.

Find the report here.

Edmonton Social Planning Council
February 11, 2020