Nov. 22 is National Housing Day, a valuable reminder of the urgent need for more affordable housing in and around Calgary.
According to Habitat for Humanity, one in five Canadians is currently living in housing that is unsafe or unaffordable, with Calgary ranking as one of the most difficult cities for low-income earners to live in.
“One of the biggest barriers families face in buying a home is saving for a down payment,” said Habitat for Humanity’s Lisa Hallet. “Habitat for Humanity helps families buy a home by offering an affordable mortgage with no down payment and no interest.”
According to the City of Calgary, a household requires affordable housing when it earns less than $60,000/year and spends more than 30 per cent of its gross income on shelter costs. For renters, the income needed to afford the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the city would be $53,000.
“When families own a home they can truly afford, they can achieve financial stability and build confident plans for the future.” – Lisa Hallet, Habitat for Humanity
Under Habitat for Humanity’s model, eligible families purchase a home with no down payment and no interest, and mortgage payments never exceed more than 25 per cent of the family’s total household income.
The monthly payments are pooled together and used to build more homes for more families, so each family is helping another become homeowners.
To help meet the need for affordable housing in Calgary, Habitat for Humanity is currently constructing 32 new townhomes in Silver Springs.
Once complete, the three-bedroom homes will provide eligible families with not only shelter, but also a better chance at a happy, healthy life, Hallet says.
“When families own a home they can truly afford, they can achieve financial stability and build confident plans for the future,” she said.