Breakfast aims to boost housing cause

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Housing society gearing up for Nov. 22 fundraising event

It’s a pretty sad state of affairs for affordable housing in St. Albert, but local leaders are working hard to make things better. Big Lake Pointe is going to be the first step towards bringing St. Albert up to par, so says Doris Vandersteen.

The executive director of the St. Albert Housing Society hopes that the four-storey apartment building will be under construction soon.

“It’s a very exciting time for us,” she exclaimed, referring specifically to the much-anticipated residential complex in North Ridge located at the intersection of Giroux Road and Ray Gibbon Drive.

The 115-unit structure will feature a broad mix of one, two and three bedroom suites, some of which will be priced according to the market while most will be listed under market value. It won’t be geared toward any specific demographic sector so families and senior citizens will have the same opportunity to buy in. Accessibility is also being considered to facilitate housing for those with physical and ambulatory impediments.

The society is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to expanding the city’s residential capacity for those who struggle to afford what is currently available. To that end, it has a funding target of $1.5 million to help put the Big Lake Pointe project in motion.

Having a target is one thing; getting there is another. The society is still waiting to hear back about applications for federal and provincial funding. Members of the public, however, don’t have to sit idly by. They can get involved by attending the HOMEStyle Breakfast next week as a way of helping to fill up the piggy bank.

The third annual event takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 7 a.m. at the St. Albert Inn.

The money will be used to help out the Family Support Program. It offers rental housing and support for single-parent families with modest incomes who struggle with the costs of housing and child rearing.

“There are a large number of St. Albert families in need of affordable housing. Single-parent families have been identified as the group at the highest risk in our community,” Vandersteen added.

She said that this city needs to develop 180 new affordable housing units each year for the next five years in order to just catch up.

The 2009 Capital Region Housing Plan rates St. Albert’s affordable housing need as the second highest in the capital region, next to Edmonton. According to current rental pricing, a household would have to earn at least $17.43 per hour in order to afford rent on a single bedroom suite. That pay has to jump to $28.20 per hour for a three-bedroom unit.

“St. Albert is a wonderful place to live, however, we are critically in need of housing options for our citizens,” elaborated David McGreer, the society’s board chair.

Tickets for the breakfast event are only $30 each or $240 for a table of eight. They can be purchased by calling the Northern Alberta Business Incubator at 780-460-1000.

Call 780-554-2205 or visit www.stalberthousing.com for more information on the event or the society’s initiatives. The organization’s offices are located in the NABI building at 200 Carnegie Drive.

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Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.