Key Advocacy Issues
ASCHA works on a variety of key issues related to housing sector advocacy in Alberta.  These issues are identified by the sector, prioritized by our membership, and brought to the ASCHA Board of Directors for direction and action.

This page highlights the key issues ASCHA is working on now, including proposed solutions and ways other organizations, stakeholders, residents, potential residents and the general public can support housing advocacy initiatives under way.

The housing provided by ASCHA’s members spans the housing continuum. Some of ASCHA’s advocacy relates to the interactions of housing with health and other supports. Seniors housing with service options (eg. meals, housekeeping) and seniors housing with service options and health supports is designed to meet the needs seniors experience as the grow older. Other housing provided by ASCHA members is affordable housing and may be occupied by Albertans irrespective of their ages. ASCHA’s advocacy for affordable housing relates government’s regulation and funding of affordable housing. The issues below can apply to one or both of the housing streams noted.


Understanding The Issues
Systemic and regulatory barriers hamper the development of new affordable housing and undermine the ongoing viability of current stock.

Adequate funding for support services for tenants is urgently needed, and this has not been addressed by new funding announcements that only focus on construction and retrofits.
Funding has been reduced each year, and this has meant supports are not adequate to enable positive outcomes for tenants, especially those with capabilities to eventually transition to market housing.

Most Albertans are unaware of how affordable housing contributes to the economic and social health of their communities. Affordable housing keeps Albertans well, and provides a stable foundation from which they can become more self-sustaining. This allows individuals to make economic and social contributions to their greater community. Investing in affordable housing create jobs, improves health and education outcomes, and ensures family stability for low-income Albertans.

Seniors’ overall wellness is at risk due to a lack of shared approaches and consistent understandings across the full continuum of housing with service options and health supports available.

Various systems and programs serving those in seniors housing are not always aligned, and can conflict with one another.

The needs of Alberta’s seniors are not being appropriately addressed due to a lack of integrated service delivery, inadequate funding, and inconsistencies in the options available within all Albertan communities.


Proposed Solutions
ASCHA is putting forth the following solutions to address the above issues.  These are our main asks:
  1. Appropriate funding for the entire life cycle of housing to ensure infrastructure can safely serve Albertans now and in the future.
  2. Enhanced access to financing to develop affordable housing solutions.
  3. Funding for tenant supports that allow individuals to maintain housing and wellness.
  4. Reforming regulations that currently create barriers to sustainable housing development, operations, and maintenance.
  5. Access to a transparent capital plan, with clearly articulated matrixes for project prioritization, as well as rationales for funding support.
  6. Enhanced support for seniors and community housing operators.
  7. An integrated, wholistic, person-centered system where all components work together to provide the right support, in the right place, at the right time.

 


What you can do to help
Recognize affordable housing as a keystone to building desirable, liveable communities.
When individuals and families are not struggling to afford shelter, they can tackle other personal issues and address other stressors to their wellbeing, without needing to leave their community to access other supports.

Affirm that safe, appropriate housing is a fundamental human right. We recognize that housing is essential to people's inherent dignity and well-being and must respond to their family size and needs.

Acknowledge affordable housing’s role in supporting local economies.  Affordable housing boosts local economies by increasing the purchasing power of residents and by attracting employers with the promise of a stable workforce. Tenants in affordable housing have greater chances to find and keep jobs, to learn and develop skills, and be active participants in their communities.

Understand the different roles of governments and hold governments accountable to these roles and responsibilities to address housing issues. To meet current affordable housing demands to address the rising housing crises across Canada, Federal and Provincial Governments need to provide predictable and cost-shared funding, while municipal governments need to provide supports such as land, streamlined processes and development cost waivers.

Accept the evidence that affordable housing has positive or neutral effects on the values of surrounding properties. With good management, affordable housing in the right setting, can dramatically improve the attractiveness of communities when it is not in excessive concentration or ignored all together.

Begin to talk about seniors housing outside the content of Long Term Care. Seniors housing is NOT Long Term Care. Options across the continuum need to be understood and differentiated, with an appreciation for how each option has a role in the full spectrum of service and supports available to seniors.

Ensure that a person has access to the same service options and health care supports, regardless of where they live.