Council approves land to advance affordable housing through partnerships
Okotoks, AB: At the January 7 meeting, Town Council directed administration to purchase land to advance affordable housing and transitional housing within Okotoks, in partnership with Westwinds Communities and Rowan House.
Westwinds Communities is proposing to build a 60-unit facility with 15 units allocated as market housing and 45 units as non-market (affordable) housing. Westwinds would reimburse the Town for all land costs for the market units, and has capacity to reimburse up to 50 percent for the remaining units.
Rowan House Society is planning to build a 16-unit transitional housing support facility on the same land.
“Affordable housing helps create inclusive communities and makes Okotoks a great place to live and work for residents of all income levels,” said Mayor Bill Robertson. “By supporting people of all ages, family compositions and demographics we are creating opportunities for individuals to become active participants in our community.”
Providing new innovative communities that embrace complete neighbourhood designs, including diversified housing options for all lifestyles, at all stages of life is one of the priorities in Council’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan. Council approved $3.25M in the 2019 budget and an additional $1.35M for 2020 as placeholders to support these types of initiatives.
“Affordable housing models hold the potential to shape inclusive communities and foster positive outcomes for residents,” said Elaine Vincent, chief administrative officer. “By investing in innovative financial models to support non-profit organizations we are building diversified and progressive communities.”
Formerly known as the Foothills Foundation, Westwinds Communities is a not-for-profit organization that provides quality housing and supportive services for seniors, as well as subsidized housing and services for individuals and families. They work with community, government and other partners to fund local senior’s supportive living and affordable housing initiatives.
Rowan House's Shelter Transition program helps women to move out of shelter and into their own affordable accommodation while still receiving support from Rowan House. It provides affordable apartments to help overcome the financial barriers of damage deposits and monthly rent for women who are also dealing with domestic abuse.