The “Mayfair Village Model” affordable housing funding finally on right track

August 30, 2012

In 14 years as Member of Parliament for Edmonton East I have supported involving the private sector in affordable rental projects to provide competitive costs, save money and provide increased benefits to those in need.

I have urged governments at all levels not to make affordable rental housing the domain solely of non-profit organizations. Too many non-profit projects have suffered from bloated costs, resulting in fewer units able to be provided compared to the private sector.

I have published two books on the subject and had dozens of meetings with stakeholders to explain how private sector involvement in affordable rental housing benefits the taxpayer and those needing housing. My interventions resulted in the Mayfair Village project being approved, after initially being refused funding, which led the way to substantial savings for taxpayers.

Recently a new $1.4 billion federal-provincial affordable housing framework was announced by Alberta Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Jonathan Denis, who said by involving the private sector, as in the “Mayfair Village Model,” Alberta is able to provide more housing for a lot less money - a 36% savings in the very first two years - with much greater savings expected in the future when the private sector is fully engaged in the model approach.

For example, ProCura’s Mayfair Village project is costing taxpayers $40 million less than if the same facility had been funded by most non-profits. Minister Denis understands that savings like that allow the province to provide more affordable rental housing than would have been possible in the past.

I think Alberta will benefit more than other provinces from the new federal-provincial affordable housing framework because the provincial government finally understands the effectiveness of involving the private sector in providing affordable rental housing and will be able to utilize the money more effectively.

What do you think?