Heartland Housing Foundation is seeking either a property tax exemption or a grant-in-lieu for the Muriel Ross Abdurahman Court.

Fort Saskatchewan city council members heard a presentation by the non-profit organization at a meeting on June 14.

Under the Municipal Government Act, Heartland Housing is eligible for property tax exemptions for buildings they operate that are owned by Alberta Social Housing Corporation. This exemption includes residences including Fort Lions Haven and Dr. T.W.E. Henry House. However, new near-market housing developments funded directly by Heartland Housing would not be included in the existing exemption legislation.

Once it opens, property taxes on the Muriel Ross Abdurahman Court will cost approximately $100,000 annually.

“As a break-even operation with requirements to maintain rents a minimum percentage below market value, we are vulnerable to the kinds of utility cost increases, supply chain concerns, and labour shortage impacts we are seeing today,” said Nancy Simmonds, Heartland Housing Foundation CEO.

An assessment report from Heartland Housing points to a growing need for affordable and near-market housing options in Fort Saskatchewan. The report found evidence that over 30 per cent of renters in the community are paying more than 30 per cent of their income on shelter costs. In consultation with Building Bridges, there is a significant housing gap for older single men within the community.

Additionally, the report pointed to a severe gap in Fort Saskatchewan’s housing mix concerning truly affordable housing for lone-parent households (a growth of 60 per cent in 2016 compared to the 2011 census data).

City administration filed a motion in response to Heartland Housing requesting council to direct them to study and outline options for council to consider regarding affordable and near-market housing incentive programs and opportunities.

A report will be brought back to council before Sept. 30.