Affordable modular housing coming to rural Alberta

Canadian Apartment Magazine

October 25, 2018

Individuals and families in rural Alberta will soon have access to modular housing via a new government-funded shipping container project developed through the Alberta Rural Development Network.

The National Housing Strategy’s Affordable Housing Innovation Fund is allocating $10 million towards the development of at least eight energy-efficient shipping container projects, in which the first phase seeks to create 467 rental units over the next two years.

The YWCA Banff Courtyard Project is the first site to get underway; a 33-unit, 3-storey modular housing project designed to meet net-zero targets for energy efficiency and provide affordable rental housing for up to 78 residents who face barriers to finding suitable accommodation. The Courtyard will be ideal for women, new and extended families, individuals, and with a least four suites that are barrier free, people with accessibility needs.

In addition, ARDN is developing a toolkit to guide local governments and community organizations to stimulate new affordable housing development. The toolkit will save community groups time and money by providing free, comprehensive, step-by-step guidelines on how to successfully develop, build and manage affordable housing projects.

“If you don’t have a home, it’s very difficult to build a life. Investment in affordable housing is critical to ensuring that Canadian communities continue to thrive,” said the Honourable Kent Hehr, Member of Parliament for Calgary Centre. “Our government is proud to support innovative organizations like ARDN as they work to design efficient, forward-thinking housing solutions that not only work here in Alberta, but could easily be replicated in rural communities across the country. Cultivating bold new ideas like this is exactly what the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund is all about.”

The guide will be based on the initial eight projects, which include a variety of owner/operator models such as private developers, not-for-profit groups and local municipal governments. The first edition of the guide will be launched early next year and will be updated after all eight modular housing projects are completed.