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Council approves LHA supportive housing funding request

A key housing project on the city’s northside has received further financial support to help fund essential services and features at the property.

Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to provide the Lethbridge Housing Authority (LHA) with contingency funding up to $1.05 million to support their new supportive housing project located at 416 Stafford Drive North. A groundbreaking ceremony was held earlier this year.

The City’s grant funding contribution will come from the Affordable and Social Housing Capital Fund, which had unallocated funds of $2.7 million available to support social and affordable housing projects. The City’s funding will be used as contingency funding and is conditional to the inclusion of key project features that are crucial for promoting safety and wellbeing.

“This supportive housing project is of significant importance for Lethbridge,” says Councillor Rajko Dodic, who introduced Tuesday’s motion. “This complex has been planned with equal focus on the community and the residents it will house. The design features will be essential to foster positive relationships between facility residents and the community.”

“We are very pleased to receive unanimous support from Council,” says Robin James, CAO for LHA. “Construction is already underway for this vital project, which will be the first recovery focused, purpose-built supportive housing facility in Lethbridge. Supportive housing moves individuals who have experienced long-term homelessness into affordable, individual suites, with on-site and community-based services to help them regain stability and maintain housing. Once housed, they are better able to address other challenges they face, including long term recovery from addictions and mental or physical illnesses.”

LHA previously received a Provincial funding commitment of $10.22 million to build 25 permanent supportive housing units in Lethbridge. Following a Public Hearing last year, the City of Lethbridge approved zoning which would allow 30 supportive housing units to be built. The project was then rescoped and LHA made a follow-up funding request to the Economic and Finance Standing Policy Committee on May 7 for a number of reasons identified in their presented submission

City funding will support the development of the supportive housing units and ensures that available funding covers the entire expected construction cost. Affordable and Social Housing Capital Grant funding had previously been provided to other applicant organizations at an average of $35,000 per unit.

“We are pleased at Council’s support for another important housing project in our community,” says Matthew Pitcher, the City’s Housing Solutions Coordinator. “Supportive housing has been identified as a key gap in our community’s housing continuum. This project is a great first step in addressing that gap. This long-term investment into recovery orientated and affordable housing in Lethbridge will have a significant positive impact for our city.”

Tuesday’s approval will also involve execution of an agreement between LHA and the City with terms and conditions satisfactory to the City Manager who, together with the City Clerk, are authorized to sign such agreement.

At its May 28 meeting, Council voted unanimously to defer payment to August 31, 2024, for the servicing costs associated with bringing utilities services to the parcel for the project.

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