Thursday, May 10, 2007

Workshop 1 - Housing in a Booming Economy

The first of my workshops kicked off at 10:30, Challenge of Building Affordable Housing in a Booming Economy. The speakers were Bryan Lutes from the Wood Buffalo Housing and Development Corp. (Wood Buffalo a.k.a: Ft McMurray) and Craig Crawford & Margaret McNeil of the BC Housing Corporation.

Wood Buffalo Notes:

- Ft. McMurray put in $40 000 to start the housing corporation in 2001 and haven't had to put in any thing else in since.

- They will complete 198 new units this year but lost a number to a huge fire that destroyed an existing building.

- Ave cost to build a unit is about $160 000 to $180 000 per door for an appartment.

- They manage 394 rent supplements.

Looks like a private not for profit corporation could be the way to go.

BC Housing Notes:

- Provincial Crown Corporation

- Experiencing 1% per month inflation (I think in AB we've been seeing about 3%)

- BC has a Provincial Housing Strategy: Housing Matters BC

- New rent supplement program for famlies with incomes under $28 000 per year.

- $31m per year for emergency shelters.

- BC Government bought 10 hotels in Vancouver and put them to use for housing, keeping them open. Started a numbered company to make the pruchase.

I continued to share a table with Minister Carter from New Zealand through the work shop. Off and on we spoke about the challenges in GP, and AB as well as the differences in homelessness between Canada and N.Z. (It doesn't seem to be as large an issue there in terms of total number of people affected) He was nice enough to pass on a copy of the N.Z. Housing Strategy which I'm going to have to read through.

Next is the lunch break...

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