The City of Lacombe recently approved two affordable housing projects valued at $460,000.
The Affordable Housing Steering Committee brought two projects to council after reviewing three proposals. Council subsequently approved $80,000 for Central Alberta Youth Unlimited’s Girls Supportive Housing project and $380,000 for a Tricon Development’s repurposing of the Lacombe Hotel into 15 supportive housing units.
The funds are comprised of a $371,500 grant from the Government of Alberta and $88,500 contribution from the City of Lacombe.
Guy Lapointe, City manager of community economic development said the two projects fit nicely into the revised City of Lacombe Affordable Housing Strategy, with Central Alberta Youth Unlimited projects being an already proven project in the community and the Tricon development being an innovative method of providing affordable housing long-term.
“It was a long process and I think a rewarding one for the committee members and also, I think, for the larger community. The timing of these projects will be very valuable as we move into a recovery process and it dovetails well into the overall post-pandemic environment,” he said.
Supportive housing is a key element of the Affordable Housing Strategy according to Lapointe. Central Alberta Youth Unlimited’s proposal matched with that element and the Tricon development partnership is one Lapointe said the committee has been searching for.
“The committee has been searching for a long time a rental-subsidy option. The problem with that can be that there is an end date. If there is an assigned amount of money, that money will run out at some point. I pointed out to council that by investing in this project, it will lower the cost recovery of the development in perpetuity,” he said.
“Instead of having an end date, this should be a permanent sustainable option providing affordable housing in the community.”
With Tricon and CAYU both being proven community partners in the past, Lapointe said council’s and the committee’s decision was made easier and also the fact both projects can be relatively fast-tracked.
“The Girls Home is already in operation. They are renting their existing property, so the transition to ownership will be easy and that will happen in short order,” he said. “Tricon has actually purchased the Lacombe Hotel and has already done preliminary work in terms of design. They are looking to find a community partner to help them manage the application program to ensure the proper people are receiving affordable accommodation.”
Lapointe said the committee has been innovative with their planning, which has allowed them to provide more return on investment to the community.
“If the City were to take a lead on the projects themselves, the money would not go very far. Using it to leverage partners with private entities and community partners has allowed us to come up with solutions that otherwise wouldn’t be available to us,” he said.
He added, “We are excited we are able to deliver these projects.”