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Find out how the City is transforming surplus land into new residential developments and explore FAQs about affordable housing.

A shortage of affordable housing affects people in every area of the city. Everyone deserves the opportunity to choose where they live and stay close to family, friends, and community. 

The City is committed to working with housing providers to help build affordable housing in every neighbourhood across Edmonton by providing construction grants and land for redevelopment, including surplus school sites

Building Housing Choices

Learn more about surplus school sites approved for mixed-market affordable housing development.

Belmont

The Belmont school park site consists of 10.27 ha of planned open space and a 1.41 ha vacant school building site. The 1.41 ha vacant school building site at 13207-37 Street was approved by City Council for housing development under the Building Housing Choices program. 

The site will be developed as a mix of market and non-market medium density housing, ranging from townhouses to low-rise apartment buildings.  The specific type of housing has not been finalized and will be determined in consultation with the community. At this time, it is not known when the community engagement process will begin. Residents will be informed in advance of all upcoming engagement opportunities.

The 10.27 ha of open space will be retained by the City and will continue to serve sports, recreation and community league uses.

Dunluce

Dunluce has two surplus school sites between Dunluce Road and 162 Avenue. One site (shown in blue) was approved by City Council for First Place housing in 2006. The other site (shown in yellow) will be developed as medium density housing, ranging from townhouses to low-rise apartment buildings under the City's Building Housing Choices program. 

Learn more

Henderson Estates

Site Activity 

From April 9 to 13, 2021, the City will be conducting soil tests to confirm that the building sites are suitable for development. As a result, spray paint or utility marker flags may be placed in the open space where drilling will take place. The site will return to its original state following the completion of the soil testing.

Background 

The Henderson Estates school park site consists of 3.9 ha of planned open space and a 1.2 ha vacant school building site. The 1.2 ha vacant school building site at 3408 Riverbend Road was declared surplus by local school boards in 2009 and approved for affordable housing development under the Building Housing Choices initiative (policy C583) by City Council in 2015.

On February 1, 2021, Executive Committee (item 6.9passed a motion directing Administration to evaluate a building location at the east side of Henderson Estates Park, adjacent to Riverbend Road, as an alternative to the existing surplus school site. A report on the findings is expected in fall 2021. 

The site will be developed as a mix of market and non-market medium density housing. The community will be informed in advance of any development plans and public engagement opportunities.   

The 3.9 ha of open space will be retained by the City and will continue to serve sports, recreation and community league uses. The Edmonton Public Library is no longer considering this site for a new library.

Keheewin

To help meet current and future housing needs, the 1.46 ha vacant school site at 2010 105 Street in Keheewin (north of Keheewin elementary school) will be home to a future housing development under the Building Housing Choices initiative (Policy C583)

The City has selected Capital Region Housing (CRH), an experienced non-profit housing provider, to develop the Keheewin housing project. CRH will undertake public engagement with local residents, as well as develop, manage and maintain the new homes proposed for the Keheewin surplus school site.

Learn more

Kiniski Gardens South

The 1.2 hectare vacant school site at  3804-38 Street in Kiniski Gardens was declared surplus by local school boards in 2009, and subsequently approved by City Council in 2015 for development into a mix of market and affordable medium-density housing under the Building Housing Choices initiative (policy C583).

In September 2016, City Administration presented a report to Executive Committee (item 6.6) proposing that the site be sold to the Headway School Society of Alberta for the purposes of building a private school. A report requesting that the Kiniski Gardens South site be removed from Policy C583 was subsequently approved by Council on September 20, 2016 (item 6.5).

On October 8, 2019 (item 9.7), City Council directed City Administration to take all steps to finalize the sale of the Kiniski Gardens South site.  On December 8, 2020, City Council approved a proposal to rezone the site from (AGU) Urban Reserve Zone to (US) Urban Services Zone and (AP) Public Park Zone (item 3.14) and removal of the municipal reserve (item 3.12). On January 18, 2021 (item 6.2), Executive Committee recommended that Council approve the sale of the land to Headway School Society of Alberta.

La Perle West

The La Perle school park site consists of 8.75 ha of planned open space and a 1.13 ha vacant school building site. The 1.13 ha vacant school building site at 18715-97A Avenue was declared surplus by local school boards in 2009 and approved by City Council in 2015 for housing development under the Building Housing Choices initiative (policy C583).

The site will be developed as a mix of market and non-market medium density housing, ranging from townhouses to low-rise apartment buildings.  The specific type of housing has not been finalized and will be determined in consultation with the community. At this time, it is not known when the community engagement process will begin. Residents will be informed in advance of all upcoming engagement opportunities.

The 8.75 ha of open space will be retained by the City and will continue to serve sports, recreation and community league uses

Lymburn

The Lymburn school park site consists of 8.84 ha of planned open space and a 1.4 ha vacant school building site. The 1.4 ha vacant school building site at 7204-184 Street was declared surplus by local school boards in 2009 and approved by City Council in 2015 for housing development under the Building Housing Choices initiative (policy C583).

The site will be developed as a mix of market and non-market medium density housing, ranging from townhouses to low-rise apartment buildings.  The specific type of housing has not been finalized and will be determined in consultation with the community. At this time, it is not known when the community engagement process will begin. Residents will be informed in advance of all upcoming engagement opportunities.

The 8.84 ha of open space will be retained by the City and will continue to serve sports, recreation and community league uses

Ogilvie Ridge

A 0.8 ha vacant school site at  915 Ogilvie Boulevard in Ogilvie Ridge was declared surplus by local school boards in 2009 and approved for a mixed-market affordable housing development by City Council in 2015. The development will have up to 100 units offered at both market and below-market rates. 

The remaining 3.63 ha of planned open space surrounding the housing development will be retained by the City and continue to serve sport, recreation and community uses as identified in the original Neighbourhood Structure Plan.

A developer/operator is expected to be selected in early 2022. 

Learn more

Summerlea

The Summerlea school park site consists of 5.18 ha of planned open space and a 1.0 ha vacant school building site. The 1.0 ha vacant school building site at 17503-93 Avenue was declared surplus by local school boards in 2009 and approved by City Council in 2015 for housing development under the Building Housing Choices initiative (policy C583).

The site will be developed as a mix of market and non-market medium density housing, ranging from townhouses to low-rise apartment buildings.  The specific type of housing has not been finalized and will be determined in consultation with the community. At this time, it is not known when the community engagement process will begin. Residents will be informed in advance of all upcoming engagement opportunities.

The 5.18 ha of open space will be retained by the City and will continue to serve sports, recreation and community league uses.

Surplus Land Redevelopment

Learn more about other affordable housing developments supported by the City. 

Riverdale

On April 30, 2018 City Council’s Executive Committee asked the City to explore options and determine feasibility of affordable housing on surplus City-owned land at 92 Street, south of 102 Avenue, in Riverdale. As part of this, the City created a committee to engage with community members and housing providers.

An expression of interest (EOI) was issued in early 2019. Following evaluation of submissions, Right at Home Housing Society was selected as the recommended builder for 10 units of near-market affordable housing. Right at Home Housing Society is a community-based, not-for-profit charity dedicated to delivering safe, stable, and affordable housing.

City Council approved a recommendation to sell the land to Right at Home Housing Society at a below-market rate on November 9, 2020. 

Learn more

FAQs

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. It is targeted for long-term occupancy by households that 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. 

In Edmonton, affordable rental housing is operated by the non-profit housing providers Capital Region Housing CorporationhomeEd, GEF Seniors Housing, Homeward Trust, Right at Home Housing Society, Northern Alberta YMCA, Métis Urban Housing Corporation of Alberta Ltd., Brentwood Community Development Group, Jasper Place Wellness Centre, and Vista Housing for Seniors.

Affordable home ownership is offered through Habitat for Humanity.


 

Who Lives In Affordable Housing?

There are Edmontonians of all ages, including low-wage workers, retirees, single-income families, newcomers, and people who need income support, struggling to cover their housing costs.

Nearly 50,000 renter households in Edmonton spend more than 30% of before-tax income on housing costs. Of those, 22,000 households spend more than half. 

When housing costs are this high, it becomes difficult to afford other necessities, like food and clothing, or to save for the unexpected, like illness or job loss. This kind of housing insecurity puts people at risk of homelessness.  

 


 

How Much Do Residents Of Affordable Housing Pay?

There are different types of affordable housing to meet different needs. In near-market developments, residents pay 10-20% below market rent. In social housing, residents pay no more than 30% of their gross income on rental costs. 


 

How Are Residents Selected For Affordable Housing?

Anyone can apply for affordable housing if they are over 18, low-income, and capable of living independently. Applicants must provide proof of income and a written reference, preferably from a previous landlord.  

Why Is The City Trying To Put Affordable Housing Where It Hasn’t Existed Before?

There are many reasons why the City of Edmonton supports building affordable housing in every neighbourhood, regardless of average income. 

  • It allows lower-income households to choose where to live, without being forced to move away from family and friends to other neighbourhoods.

  • 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.

  • The availability of suitably-sized, priced, zoned and serviced land is a prerequisite to the provision of Affordable Housing. Opportunities for the development of additional Affordable Housing units should be expected wherever those conditions exist.

How Are Affordable Housing Sites Chosen?

The City of Edmonton is a limited funding partner, offering land or grants toward the construction of affordable and permanent supportive housing. Land selected for affordable housing developments must be suitably sized, priced and readily available for rezoning and servicing.

The City prioritizes projects located close to amenities and services for residents, like transit, grocery stores, child care, schools, and community recreation facilities and parks.


 

Myths & Facts

Myth: Affordable Housing Lowers Property Values

Fact: There is no conclusive evidence to suggest non-market housing negatively affects surrounding property values.  

Studies have consistently found that if non-market housing is well-designed, fits in with the surrounding neighbourhood, and is well managed, property values of neighbouring homes are not negatively affected. 

Residential real estate values, both for home assessment and sale value, are primarily driven by local and global economic factors, rather than the introduction of new non-market housing in the community. The same is true of commercial properties. 

 

Myth: Affordable Housing Increases Crime And Social Disorder

Fact: The City studied the impact of non-market housing on the safety of 5 core neighbourhoods and found there was no correlation between crime and non-market housing.

Using data and analytics support from the Edmonton Police Service, the City studied how many police events, including drug-related activity, violence, and property crime, occurred between 2011-2018 around non-market housing addresses in 5 core neighbourhoods. The number of events at these sites were then compared to the number of total events in the neighbourhood where the site was located. 

Non-market properties were responsible for just 4% of the total number of police events for the 5 neighbourhoods, despite making up 12% of the total housing.

The City also examined data pertaining to bylaw complaints, including noise and graffiti, and found that non-market housing properties were responsible for just 1.3 per cent of the total bylaw complaints in their neighbourhoods. 

Myth: Affordable Housing Is An Eyesore And Not Well Maintained

Fact: Affordable housing is developed and maintained by professional non-profit housing operators. 

The City has established design guidelines for new affordable housing developments. It prioritizes projects that demonstrate high quality architecture, environmental sustainability, accessible or adaptable unit design, family-oriented units and/or design principles, and innovative construction standards.

Affordable housing is sometimes confused with problem properties, market housing that is unsafe or not well maintained. If there is a problem property in your neighbourhood, call 311 or report it confidentially online

For More Information

Affordable Housing and Homelessness

Affordable Housing and Homelessness, Social Development Branch
18th Floor, Edmonton Tower
10111 104 Avenue NW
Edmonton AB  T5J 0J4

Telephone

In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

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