Affordable housing options for Strathcona County

May 12, 2021

Affordable housing options for Strathcona County

Access to affordable housing, defined as spending less than 30 per cent of household income on housing, has a positive impact on family stability, community cohesion and health outcomes. A household is said to be in core housing need when housing is unsuitable, inadequate or unaffordable, and when alternative housing is unaffordable.

A Housing Needs and Demand Assessment completed in 2020 for Strathcona County reported:

  • over 14 per cent of residents are spending 30 per cent or more of their income on housing costs
  • approximately 2,000 households are in core housing need
  • most impacted are single-parent families and those living alone
  • high rental costs, with few purpose-built rentals, and limited one-bedroom and bachelor options.

In October 2020, Council set direction for a community-led approach to affordable housing.

“Access to safe and affordable housing plays a vital role in community safety and well-being,” says Mayor Rod Frank. “Through a community-led approach to affordable housing, we can collectively understand housing needs and experiences, and work together toward solutions to housing insecurity and overall housing affordability within our municipality.”

Progress towards this has included researching best practices to address housing gaps, prioritizing Land Use Bylaw opportunities, participating in a housing estimate, and building local and regional partnerships to respond to housing and homelessness needs.

In areas of planning and development, immediate to long-term options are proposed to move strategies for affordable housing forward. Actions include additional consultation with the land development industry, and exploring incentive programs, inclusionary housing, densification and partnership opportunities.

Strathcona County’s participation in the Rural Development Network’s 2020 Fall Estimations project, conducted November 1 through 30, 2020, provided the County its first local housing estimate. 

A housing estimate gathers essential information on the housing circumstances and needs of residents. It was conducted using a service-based approach designed specifically for rural communities. Community partners and County departments promoted the housing estimations survey, targeting residents seeking support services who were at risk of, or experiencing, housing insecurity or homelessness. The survey was also publicly available to complete.

The County’s obtained 126 responses to the survey. Results from the housing estimate found:

  • the majority of respondents felt Strathcona County did not provide sufficient affordable housing
  • while few respondents reported experiencing absolute homelessness; 29 per cent of respondents were experiencing housing insecurity due to unaffordability, unsuitability of housing for family size, or the need for critical repair 

Of respondents experiencing housing insecurity:

  • 54 per cent were employed full-time or part-time
  • 24 per cent were homeowners
  • 56 per cent had a post-secondary diploma, degree or trade certificate

Findings from Strathcona County’s housing estimate complement data from the Housing Needs and Demand Assessment, providing further insight into local experiences and community needs.

The next steps in a community-led approach to affordable housing is the development of an Affordable Housing Strategy. Heartland Housing Foundation will lead strategy development with community partners, including the Social Framework Leadership Table.

Options to provide safe, affordable housing exist in all areas along the housing continuum, from homelessness to social housing to rental housing to home ownership. Looking at the affordable housing research and best practices, community engagement and funding sources, the Affordable Housing Strategy will set a path forward to realize tangible housing solutions to support community safety and well-being.

Residents immediately concerned about housing, finances, stress or family relationships can call Family and Community Services at 780-464-4044 for access to supports, or visit for more information.  


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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595