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Renting in Calgary on minimum wage near impossible: report

Last Updated Jul 19, 2019 at 7:24 am MST

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Finding an affordable place to rent is still an issue for low-income families in Calgary.

After research from the Centre for Policy Alternatives showed people making the minimum wage in Calgary couldn’t afford to rent in the city, some city councillors are reacting to the situation.

READ MORE: Study says rents in most cities unaffordable for lower income earners

Ward 8 Councillor Evan Wooley said even with a drop in housing prices as a result of the economic downturn, rental affordability remains a problem and it’s up to all three levels of government to act.

“The city’s in the zoning business and we are also key partners in affordable housing. While it is very much the mandate of the federal and provincial governments to fund affordable housing, the city is a great operator of these units.”

“We have to look at everything,” said Ward 5 Councillor George Chahal. “Housing is one of the highest costs for many individuals but if we can provide more affordable housing but can also do a better job of other services we provide, we can bring costs down and help more Calgarians meet their needs.”

The national study found those earning minimum wage could only afford a one-bedroom rental in nine per cent of 795 neighbourhoods in Canada. That figured drops to three per cent when it comes to affording a two-bedroom rental.

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Wooley said that while changes have been made to help renters in Calgary, it’s still a struggle.

“Even despite the economic downturn and the significant decreases in rent and property values this remains a significant challenge.”

Wooley said the city still needs to keep investing in affordable housing as thousands of people are on waiting lists for those units.

He adds that there are things that can be done to help.

“It’s really incumbent on our federal and provincial partners to continue to make stable and long-term investments in affordable housing.”

The report from Policy Alternatives showed that Calgarians would have to make at least $27 an hour to afford a two-bedroom apartment and those earning the $15 per hour minimum wage would have to work 72 hours a week.