Medicine Hat Housing Strategy
After two years of public engagement sessions, the collection and analysis of information and data from housing and homelessness service providers, Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, along with the City and community partners is releasing the Medicine Hat Housing Strategy.
In 2019, a Housing Strategy Committee was formed to develop a strategy for Medicine Hat to address the housing needs of current and future residents along the entire housing continuum, from homelessness to market ownership housing.
The final report concluded a need for more community housing units for households with low incomes as demonstrated by the number of individuals currently on the waitlist for community housing, including those who are spending the majority of their income on housing costs. The data reflected over half of this group were facing housing affordability issues, 23.5% were facing severe housing affordability issues and 31.3% were in need of core housing. The report further broke down the housing need by unit size and found 90% of these households required smaller living units compared to larger units.
In Medicine Hat, there is an estimated 27,373 households. Of that 30% are household with low income, 30% are households with moderate incomes and the remainder of homes are those with high incomes. Each household income group reflected a housing gap that requires addressing.
“The development of a Housing Strategy provided the evidence to ensure resources are directed to housing projects that will meet the priority needs within the Medicine Hat,” says Robin Miiller, Chief Administrative Officer, Medicine Hat Community Housing Society.
A number of key strategies were developed to address the housing gaps in the city. It was recognized that residents, provincial and federal governments, the City of Medicine Hat, Housing Management Bodies, non-profit and private sectors all had a role to play for the housing strategy framework to succeed.
Four goals and recommended actions with aggressive timelines were developed based on the housing gap.
Key stakeholders identified strategy goals to include:
- Increasing the supply of rental housing that is affordable to households with low incomes.
- Ensuring there is adequate and appropriate housing with supports for people who need help to live with dignity and as independently as possible.
- Optimizing the existing purpose-built rental housing stock and ensure it continues to meet the needs of current and future residents.
- Encouraging a broad range of dwelling types and tenures which meet the need of current and future residents.
The Medicine Hat Housing Strategy community composition included representatives from Medicine Hat Community Housing Society, City of Medicine Hat, Invest Medicine Hat, Miywasin Friendship Centre, Medicine Hat Real Estate Board, Chamber of Commerce, Cypress View Foundation, Government of Alberta, Service Canada.