Okotoks Town Council has approved a motion from Mayor Bill Robertson to establish an ad hoc affordable housing committee.

The Town is currently in the process of creating the committee which will be formed in early 2018, looking into solutions to the lack of affordable housing in Okotoks.

Robertson says the average price of $450,000 for a home in Okotoks can be very daunting for young people, single parents, and seniors.

"What we need to do is have housing available for all socio-economic levels so that would be more affordable housing choices," he says. "Of course if somebody chooses not to buy, but to rent then a very expensive housing stock also has very high rents. Landlords need to recoup enough money to pay for the dwelling that they've purchased and are using the rental income to pay for."

Robertson would like to diversify the Town's housing stock to include more attached, apartment style, or town house buildings.

He's hoping to have both developers and citizens sit on the committee to explore viable options for affordable housing in Okotoks.

"They'll work on recommendations to help address a number of issues with affordable housing, and there are a number of different issues. We hope to have this committee come forward to council with recommendations on initiatives that the town can do in order to partially solve, or totally solve this crucial problem."

Along with solutions to the current housing crunch, the committee will also define what affordable housing should look like.

"One of the definitions given is that residents should not be spending more than 30 per cent of their disposable income on accommodation and related utilities. If somebody has to spend 30 to 40 per cent of their disposable income on housing, then that's not affordable and we need to address that."

Robertson adds the committee will also look ideas surrounding transitional housing for individuals leaving the Rowan House Women's Emergency Shelter.

 

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