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Affordable housing policies approved

Council approved two policies that will provide support to increase a diversity of affordable housing options for Okotoks citizens at the regular meeting March 22.

The Below Market Housing Incentive Grant program will provide an incentive for developers to build below market housing that must be rented at a minimum of 20 percent below market rate for a minimum time period of 20 years.

The Secondary Suite and Accessory Dwelling Unit Grant program will provide financial grants and education to stimulate the timely development of new secondary suites and accessory dwellings, or the upgrading of existing non-compliant, unpermitted secondary suites.

“Both of these programs are important first steps in achieving the goal to create a variety of housing options for all residents at all stages of their lives,” said Mayor Bill Robertson.

Council approved a budget of $135,000 in 2021 and $150,000 in future years for the Below Market Housing Incentive Grant to encourage developers to build below-market housing units. Developers will be able to apply for a grant up to $15,000 per unit for townhomes, duplexes and apartments within Okotoks. The program limits the number of affordable housing units to 25 percent of a development to avoid a concentration of these units within one location.

Council also approved an annual budget of $65,000 for the Secondary Suite and Accessory Dwelling Unit Grant program to offset the costs for homeowners to upgrade an existing suite, or construct a new suite or accessory dwelling.

Homeowners will be able to apply for grants up to $10,000 to off-set the costs of building a new secondary suite or accessory dwelling, and up to $5,000 to upgrade an existing suite to meet compliance. The goal is to encourage residents to bring non-compliant suites and accessory dwellings into compliance and ensure basic life safety measures are incorporated. This will also support increased construction of new secondary suites and accessory dwellings.

Both programs reflect the recommendations in the Affordable Housing Strategy, which Council approved in principle in October, 2020.

Administration will now complete the work to develop the application packages and processes for each of the programs, which are scheduled to begin in Spring, 2021. Follow link below for more information

Program details