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The City of Edmonton believes that safe, adequate and affordable housing is fundamental to the physical, economic and social well-being of individuals, families and communities. Further, a sufficient supply of affordable housing helps to support a healthy labour market and is crucial to enable long-term financial stability for low-income households.

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What is Affordable Housing?

Affordable Housing is rental or ownership housing that requires government money to build or operate. Affordable Housing has rents or payments below average market cost, and is targeted for long-term occupancy by households who earn less than median income for their household size. Most Affordable Housing is provided in multi-unit residential structures, including apartment units, row housing, triplexes and duplexes.

The housing spectrum shows the range of housing options available to households of all income levels. The spectrum extends from emergency shelters and housing for the homeless through to market rental and homeownership. Affordable Housing is one type of housing within the spectrum. There are four different types of Affordable Housing: Supportive Housing, Supported Housing, Social Housing, and Independent Living Affordable Housing.

Short-Term Accommodation
  • Shelter Spaces
  • Transitional Accommodation
Affordable Housing
  • Supportive Housing
  • Supported Housing
  • Social Housing
  • Independent Living Affordable Housing
Market Housing
  • Rental and Ownership Housing
What is the need for Affordable Housing?


In 2011, approximately 47,000 renter households spent more than 30% of their household income on shelter costs. More than 24,000 renters spent more than 50%, indicating severe housing affordability issues.


The 2014 homelessness count found that more than 2,300 Edmontonians do not have a home. 29% of those counted were children and youth under the age of 24 and 46% of those counted identified as Aboriginal.


In 2011, renter households of all types struggled with housing affordability including 12,800 families with children.

There are long application wait lists for affordable housing, which include many Edmontonians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The number of households on wait lists is currently estimated at more than 3,000.

How does Affordable Housing affect your property value?

Having Affordable Housing next door to you will likely have no effect on property values.

Research in Alberta has shown in studying communities with and without Affordable Housing that property values do not vary over time due to the presence of Affordable Housing developments.

Affordable Housing which is well designed, integrated into the community and properly managed will have no different of an effect on a neighbourhood than a similar-sized market development.

Why is spreading out Affordable Housing a good idea?

By providing Affordable Housing in all areas of the city, lower-income households are able to live where they choose and remain close to family and friends, rather than being forced to move away to other neighbourhoods when life cycle or health needs make it necessary to seek Affordable Housing.

Affordable Housing in all areas of the city enables lower-income households to have options to live where they choose, without being forced to move away from family and friends to other neighbourhoods when lifecycle or health needs make that necessary.

How does Affordable Housing reduce costs of services?

$65,000 of Saving Per Person Per Year

Providing Affordable Housing now to those who need it is an investment that costs tax payers far less than supporting people on the street or in temporary shelters.

Research has shown that for every $10 spent on housing and supports for chronically homeless individuals results in $21.72 in savings related to health care, social supports, housing and involvement in the justice system.

Providing Affordable Housing through the Housing First* approach costs roughly $35,000 per person per year, but would otherwise cost roughly $100,000 through transitional accommodation or emergency level responses. This translates into a $65,000 per person per year savings that can now be used for other public benefits.

* Housing First describes the approach that aims to help homeless person or families quickly access and sustain permanent, affordable homes.
Why is having a diverse neighbour­hood beneficial?

Diversity of housing types, including multi-family Affordable Housing, brings new residents to neighbourhoods, increasing the sustainability of schools, businesses, and community organizations.

Economic diversity within neighbourhoods increases social mobility and avoids intergenerational poverty. Social mixing increases health outcomes, increases access to networks of influence and employment, and decreases social inequality.

Research has shown that living in an economically diverse neighbourhood is associated with higher grades on standardized tests for all children.

For More Information

Phone 211 for Affordable Housing or support services.

For information on the contents of this website, phone 311.

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