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Provincial rental assistance program now available to Airdrie residents

According to mayor Brown, City council and administration have been advocating for this change since the benefit was first introduced in March 2021.

Airdrie residents may be eligible to receive assistance from the Alberta government's Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit (TRAB) – a two-year rent assistance program meant to help make rent more affordable for those living in private rental homes.

The City of Airdrie announced in a press release on Aug. 9 the province is expanding the program to include Airdrie, and some locals will now be eligible for the funding support.

The monthly benefit amount is administered through the Calgary Housing Company, which administers the funding on behalf of the provincial government. 

“We are pleased that Airdrie has been included in the recent expansion of the TRAB and thankful to the provincial government for recognizing the need in our city,” said Mayor Peter Brown in the press release.

According to the mayor, City council and administration have been advocating for this change since the benefit was first introduced in March 2021.

“Hopefully these positive results of our combined efforts will make a significant difference for our residents who need rental support,” he said. 

The press release stated the City has been pushing for the TRAB to be extended to municipalities outside of seven major urban centres in Alberta – Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, and the Regional Muncipality of Wood Buffalo – in which the benefit was originally intended for.

Advocacy efforts included numerous meetings with the Ministry of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon and in July, a visit from Pon to Airdrie to tour local affordable housing units and hotel conversion projects.

The visit comes as Airdrie continues to experience an affordable housing shortage. Brown called Airdrie “woefully under-serviced” with regard to the city's affordable housing stock.

“We have a very small bank of inventory now and line-ups are long. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough inventory to support the needs,” he said. “We could use close to over 1,000 units for a population our size and we’re sitting at about 34 with another 40 or so coming.”

However, Brown emphasized the City's work to secure more provincial and federal funding does not stop with the announcement about gaining TRAB eligibility.

“The changes to the TRAB are an important first step,” he said. “The critical need for affordable housing is real in Airdrie. Our council and administration will continue to advocate to address the significant gap and encourage more affordable units to be built.”

The TRAB benefit is intended for a two-year period for working households or those who find themselves in between jobs. It is designed for households that may not be a priority for regular Rental Assistance Benefit (RAB) or community housing.

In a phone interview with Mayor Brown, he said he would like to thank the province for recognizing Airdrie’s need for support with regards to affordable housing.

“We’ve been fighting this fight for a long time and finally they’ve extended those opportunities for people that are having challenges meeting their rent obligations,” he said. “I’m excited it’s here and hopefully it will continue and those people that need support will get it.”

According to Brown, the benefit provides between $155 to $292 in rental assistance per month for those who qualify or are eligible. He reiterated affordable housing inventory is low in the community, and long-term support will be needed going forward.

“We need much greater support from the province to step up and recognize that Airdrie is as important as any other municipality within that group of seven,” he said. “We need that financial support so we can properly support those who are in need. We won’t get there without the help of the province.”

The mayor added the City is unable to build its inventory without partnerships with either the province or private business sector.

“We’ve tried a lot of different ways to get them involved. We had the minister here recently and she saw the need, she saw what we’re trying to achieve,” he said of Pon’s recent visit.

“She saw the City has partnered and invested in affordable housing for seniors as well, and unfortunately, no money coming our way at this time.”

Airdrie residents who would like to learn more about TRAB eligibility are encouraged to visit alberta.ca/rent-assistance.aspx

To apply directly through the Calgary Housing Company, visit calgaryhousingcompany.org/temporary-rent-assistance-benefit/


Carmen Cundy

About the Author: Carmen Cundy

Carmen Cundy joined the Airdrie Today team in March 2021.
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