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City to gauge affordable housing needs

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The city is trying to assess what’s needed when it comes to affordable housing in Grande Prairie. Officials have decided to move ahead with plans to update the five-year Affordable Housing Master Plan set to expire in 2021. Affordable Housing Coordinator Reed Des Roches says this new plan will outline what housing options are available and what areas could be worked on.

“The strategy is going to outline exactly what role the city plays in providing affordable housing. That could be whether or not we’re making land available to other organizations to build housing, whether we’re going out and building housing ourselves or what kind of incentives we’re providing to industry to build more multi-family.”

This strategy will replace the previous master plan put into place in 2011. Des Roches says they chose to update it now because the way the city and non-profit organizations provide housing has changed. One of those groups is the Grande Spirit Foundation.

“At the time of the previous strategy they only wanted to address seniors housing; they weren’t interested in doing management for affordable housing. Now that’s changed entirely and so if we were looking to develop a housing development corporation we would see that there was already a management body in the community and so that wouldn’t be a role that we need to take on.”

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The six-phase strategy will be put together over an eight-month period and should be completed by July. In the coming weeks, Des Roches plans to hold a number of meetings with local organizations to gauge their housing needs.

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