Do you have a spare bedroom or basement to rent?

Like a game of musical chairs, every bedroom that we can provide helps improve housing affordability, reduce pressure on the housing market, reduce the leverage of big landlords and may put money in your pocket!

Learn more about secondary suites, home share, and various small-scale, immediate steps that can improve housing affordability.

I recently participated in a conversation with several constituents about how we could adapt or retrofit our properties to help improve affordability and quality of life while addressing the housing crisis. 

While many of the remedy’s to the housing crisis require long-term solutions, there are a number of short-term actions that we can take to unlock more space. There are new announcements everyday, such as the Federal government’s secondary suite incentives. 

The Federal government announced in the 2024 budget a $409.6 million investment over four years, starting in 2025-26, to launch the Canada Secondary Suite Loan Program through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This program aims to offer homeowners up to $40,000 in low-interest loans to facilitate the addition of secondary suites to their homes. Details for this program will be provided in the coming months. 

“It is just too much house for us, but we don’t want to leave the community!”

I hear this sentiment a lot. The cost of heating, cleaning, cooling, and maintaining a house for one or two people can be enormous and rising. Ever since the UCP took the cap off of utilities, maintaining our homes has become much more expensive. We definitely need more housing choices for all ages, stages, and wages of life.

Can we make better use of the space inside our own homes? 

Here were some of the suggestions raised by participants: 

Consider formal match-making such as Canada Homeshare

We have a surplus of students looking for a quiet place to study. We have a surplus of seniors looking for an opportunity to stay in their homes but need some help with snow shoveling, etc. There are various programs that support match making. Learn more: https://www.michaeljanz.ca/helping_seniors_age_in_place_through_canada_homeshare

Consider creating a secondary suite

We are in a housing crisis. Have you considered renovating your home and creating a legal secondary suite? Or blending the home with two students? You can use your Home Equity Line of Credit to help with the construction:

Learn More: https://www.edmonton.ca/residential_neighbourhoods/secondary-suites

Consider legalizing more housing on your property:

Thanks to the new zoning bylaw, you can build a secondary suite over your garage or get more creative with your lot. Learn more: 

https://www.edmonton.ca/residential_neighbourhoods/garden-suites

Co-living or House Hacking (getting a roommate?)

Getting a new roommate, sharing space, or creative solutions can help. I know one friend who invited his in-laws to join his family, helping everyone from childcare to socialization to shared internet and utility bills. I know many intercultural families doing something similar, and this guidebook that was shared with me was creative: 

House hacking, put simply, means finding a way to create income with a home to offset the costs of the mortgage. Historically, the most common methods of house hacking have been renting out extra rooms, renting an apartment above a garage, or living in a duplex or triplex. This manual aims to document various house hacking types for existing buildings and new construction opportunities. It’s not a complete instruction manual, but rather is meant to share ideas, stories and to inspire. Learn More: https://leanurbanism.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/House_Hacking_Catalog.pdf

Consider downsizing:

The housing market is super hot, and if you have more space than you need and have considered downsizing, now is a great time to do so. Your house could become a home to a young family that needs the extra room and you could find a better housing choice  and increase your quality of life at the same time. Learn more:

https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2021/6/25/could-you-move-in-next-door

Share your suggestions! How can your property generate some revenue for you?

Reminder: for seniors, there is the Government of Alberta Seniors Tax Deferral Program:

https://www.edmonton.ca/residential_neighbourhoods/property_tax_assessment/tax-assistance-for-seniors

Latest posts

May 8th City Hall News

EVENTS

  • Monday May 13th - Summer streets opening party!

  • Wednesday May 15th - Minding the Gap: Police Accountability in Alberta 

  • Saturday May 25th - Harbinger showcase and live podcast recording

  • Youth Council Recruitment!

 

NEWS

  • We Won! Protecting the public interest - public funds for public buildings

  • Ending Pay to play and bill 20: Halt big corporate money taking over City hall!

  • Naming Rights: What’s in a name? Stop the corporate rebrand of public facilities

  • The High Cost of Free Street Parking

May 2nd City Hall News

Events:

  • May 11th - Alberta Bike Swap
  • May 13th - Summer Streets launch party
  • Big Bin Events This Summer! 
  • Fire Hall open houses
  • May 25th - Harbinger Media Network Showcase
  • July 1st - Mill Creek Pool reopening

News & Views

  • Bill 20 is a disaster. Take action
  • Housing Crisis: What is the role of the University of Alberta?
  • What I'm hearing on the Old Strathcona Public Realm Strategy...
  • Understanding property tax increases
  • The Edmonton Police Commission is refusing to share its plans for auditing the local police department with city council. Councilor Keren Tang put forward a motion in December last year to have a look at the plan, which council approved. But now the EPC says it “owns the audit function” and does not “support sharing that responsibility with council.” 

  • Don't fall for privatization: Chicago doesn't own their own streets (Video)
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