New affordable housing tax grant launched
May 11, 2023

A new $27 million City of Edmonton investment will support non-profit organizations providing Edmontonians with a range of affordable housing.

The Affordable Housing Tax Grant covers municipal property taxes for all affordable housing units owned or operated by non-profit organizations. Funding for the grant was approved in Budget 2023-2026 following several Council debates on how to best bring the City’s policies in line with provincial legislation. The grant will offset $6 million in taxes in 2023, scaling up to $7.5 million by 2026, providing a complement to the City’s ongoing efforts to increase the number of affordable housing units.

“One in four renters in Edmonton pay more than they can afford on housing. With costs rising, we need to address the housing gap and protect our existing affordable housing stock,” said Mayor Amarjeet Sohi. “This new grant provides certainty to organizations building an Edmonton for everyone, allowing them to keep rents down and buildings well maintained.”

The grant announcement took place at Matheson Seniors Housing, which has provided affordable seniors housing since 1973. In 2022, the City approved $950,000 towards a $5.2 million rehabilitation of the site through the Affordable Housing Investment Program to ensure low-income seniors can receive affordable housing for decades to come.

"This new grant program provides certainty and stability to our organization, which is exactly what we strive to provide to our residents,” said Rob Appleyard, Executive Director, Brentwood Community Development Group. “Housing is the foundation of community, and these grants will help us to continue building a high quality of life for low-income seniors, families and people living with disabilities.”

Apart from a few exceptions, affordable housing is taxable under provincial legislation. In the past, City Council granted exemptions on a case-by-case basis. These affordable housing exemptions are vulnerable to appeal, however, since private rental spaces fall outside provincial non-profit exemption rules.

The grant creates an even playing field for organizations offering housing for Edmontonians who would otherwise pay more than 30 per cent of their income on housing. Instead of difficult decisions about increased costs, organizations will be able to keep rental rates low, reinvest in maintenance and make future development plans.

“We are very pleased that the City of Edmonton is providing us with this grant to offset the municipal portion of the property taxes we pay on affordable homes owned by Civida,” said Gord Johnston, CEO of Civida. “Civida will reinvest these funds in repairs and upgrades such as new flooring, new appliances, new lighting and new paint, among other items, to benefit Edmontonians who live in these approximately 900 homes across the city. We also look forward to continuing to reinvest these funds as they are made available in future years.”

“We are pleased to see this grant, which will increase housing security for people in need who are living with a mental health concern,” said Gail Haynes, Senior Director of Programs & Operations for CMHA Edmonton. “We know that one in three households that include people dealing with a mental health or addictions issue are in Core Housing Need. Reducing costs and increasing affordability will ensure more people can access affordable housing and stay in their homes.”

“Non-profits do an amazing job working with Edmontonians to ensure everyone has what they need to thrive,” said Erin Rutherford, Councillor Ward Anirniq. “This grant is an acknowledgement of the great work these organizations are doing in our city to support affordable housing.”

The City is actively encouraging interested non-profit organizations to apply for the grant, as there may be opportunities to formalize affordable housing agreements to reflect existing offerings. The new online application process will be administered directly by the City which, at its discretion, can waive future annual applications. The grant covers 100 per cent of municipal taxes for eligible units, but does not cover provincial education tax assessed as part of the annual property tax process.

Eligible residential units must be owned by a non-profit or be part of a partnership in which a non-profit entity owns at least half of the property.
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