Calgary businesses push for housing affordability to attract workers ...

7 Jun 2024

By Cam Green Global News

Global News Calgary - Figure 1

Posted June 6, 2024 7:47 pm

2 min read

Housing affordability is becoming a key issue for businesses attracting workers, according to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has raised concerns over housing affordability, and called for all levels of government to work together to address the issue.

In a report released Thursday called Home Economics: Unlocking Growth through Housing Solutions, the chamber found demand for housing is “skyrocketing,” with Calgary registering record population growth last year, with 96,000 new residents.

Global News Calgary - Figure 2

According to the report, the supply of housing is only increasing marginally, with low vacancy rates in Calgary’s rental market. To help address this, unit construction will need to double.

The demand for housing is also outpacing supply, causing the cost of real estate to increase dramatically, the report noted.

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Calgary Chamber’s Ruhee Ismail-Teja said affordability has been one of Calgary’s key competitive advantages for businesses.

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“Our members have raised housing affordability at an increasing rate because they know it matters to their business more than ever before.”

She added this is becoming a key priority for businesses.

Last year the City of Calgary approved a strategy to address housing affordability, including a rezoning initiative, a secondary suite incentive program and making city-owned land available for non-profit affordable housing providers.

2:02 Calgary council receives update on progress of housing strategy

City officials said progress had been made on implementing the strategy, with five of the 98 recommendations completed at the last update given in May.

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The federal government had also announced funding for Calgary to fast-track the construction of 6,800 units over the next three years.

The Calgary Chamber said it is meeting with all three levels of government and putting forward ideas to help address labour shortages. This includes building more affordable housing, increasing the number of construction workers and cutting red tape.

“One of the biggest challenges that we see is the gap between where we are and where we need to go is so significant that there needs to be more resources and attention paid to it,” said Ismail-Teja.

“The economy doing well is really contingent on people doing well and so we know that good economic policy is good social policy and vice versa.”

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