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Feds give Calgary $228M for housing

Canada’s federal government is providing the City of Calgary with $228 million from its Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF).

The HAF is focused on creating higher-density housing, student housing, homes near transit and affordable housing.

Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser says the agreement with Calgary will fast-track the development of 6,800 housing units over the next three years and spur the construction of more than 35,000 homes over the next decade. 

“By working with cities, mayors and all levels of government, we are helping to get more homes built for Canadians at prices they can afford,” Fraser said in a Tuesday press release 

“With federal funding and federal leadership, we are changing how cities let housing get built in their municipalities.” 

Tuesday’s funding announcement comes after a contentious debate at city council in September over Calgary’s new housing strategy. The plan calls for blanket rezoning to R-CG in Calgary, which would allow for a wider range of housing types in every neighbourhood. 

Currently, more than 60 per cent of residential properties in Calgary are zoned to only allow single family homes as a default.

After first being shot down in a first vote, the plan came back to council for an emergency weekend public hearing in September, after which it was passed.

That second vote came after Fraser threatened a halt to the federal funding if the plan did not pass.

In a letter to Calgary following the first vote was shot down, Fraser said that if Calgary council did not legalize new missing-middle zoning designations, its Housing Accelerators Fund application would not be approved.

Missing-middle housing refers to buildings such as duplexes, row houses, and mid-rise apartments which can increase density. Such rezoning changes would re-designate portions of land to allow those types of buildings. 

In making the announcement Tuesday, Fraser said he expects 3,000 new units to be created by office space conversions in alignment with Calgary’s Downtown Strategy.

He also says the HAF will help fund the creation 400 housing units on city-owned land in proximity to transit stations. 

The city’s  housing strategy also sets out a plan to Streamlining Approvals for construction, incentivize secondary suites, and promote infill in established areas.

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