Affordable housing needs assessment

Municipalities are encouraged to complete a standardized needs assessment for affordable housing.


A needs assessment is a critical tool to help communities understand the current state of affordable housing and identify where more support is needed. The Alberta government provides an online housing needs assessment template to:

  • standardize the information collected across the province
  • help municipalities better understand local needs
  • support long-term community planning
  • inform Government of Alberta decision-making

Use of the standardized needs assessment template is optional. Submissions will be accepted on an ongoing basis.

Action 3.2 under the Stronger Foundations affordable housing strategy commits to encourage regional and/or municipal housing needs assessments to inform government and community planning.

Who can submit

Municipalities will lead housing needs assessments with support from local housing providers, non-profit organizations and any other stakeholders that can help provide insight into local needs.

Municipalities may:

  • conduct the assessment
  • endorse a housing management body regulated under the Alberta Housing Act to conduct and submit an assessment on behalf of the municipality
  • contract a qualified organization to conduct the assessment on behalf of the municipality

Municipal endorsement is required. A record of municipal approval must be attached to the needs assessment submission.

Data from municipalities will be supplemented with information from the Ministry of Seniors Community and Social Services, Statistics Canada, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Specific requirements are detailed below or available in the Affordable Housing Needs Assessment User Guide.

What information to collect

This needs assessment is focused on affordable housing and will not include data on continuing care.

Municipalities and community organizations

Municipalities and community organizations will be responsible for collecting and providing the following information:

  • Population

    • projected population in 5 years
    • projected % population change 2021 to 2026
    • projected households in 5 years
    • projected % households change 2021 to 2026
    • projected average household size in 5 years
    • projected median age in 5 years
    • projected seniors 65+ in 5 years
    • comments on population and household projections as well as other population considerations

    See below for the list of Statistics Canada and CMHC data that can be used to inform these calculations.

  • Income/economy

    • reporting region
    • major local industries
  • Housing

    • housing policies/initiatives in local official community plans and regional growth strategies
    • community consultations undertaken on housing needs
  • Housing supply

    Municipalities should connect with local community housing providers on the below data points.

    • existing units
    • units committed or in-development
    • current unit deficit
    • current accessible unit deficit
    • projected new demand (5-years)
    • total unit deficit (5-years)
  • Municipal housing priorities

    • top 3 priorities
    • other priorities
  • Key findings

    • housing priority
    • total number of units
    • vacancy rate
    • waitlist
    • key findings/comments

Stats Canada and CMHC data

Data from Statistics Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will be acquired by the Government of Alberta and made available in the online submission tool. This will include:

  • Population

    • population 2021
    • population 2016
    • % population change 2016 to 2021
    • households 2021
    • households 2016
    • % households change 2016 to 2021
    • average household size
    • median age
    • seniors 65+
    • % of owner households
    • % of renter households
    • % of renters in subsidized housing
  • Income/economy

    • participation rate
    • unemployment rate
  • Housing

    • median market rent (all unit types)
    • vacancy rent (all unit types)
    • core housing need (all households)
    • core housing need (renter households)
    • core housing need (owner households)
    • spending greater than 30% of income on shelter (all households)
    • spending greater than 30% of income on shelter (renter households)
    • spending greater than 30% of income on shelter (owner households)
    • spending greater than 50% of income on shelter (all households)
    • spending greater than 50% of income on shelter (renter households)
    • spending greater than 50% of income on shelter (owner households)

How to submit

The online tool will be updated once the 2021 Stats Canada data is available.

Step 1

To get started now, download the Affordable Housing Needs Assessment User Guide (for information only; not for submission).

Step 2

Request access to the online submission tool via the form below. 

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.

Step 3

You will be emailed a link to the online needs assessment. Once you specify the municipality(ies) the needs assessment is for, you will be able to download a copy of the template that includes data from Seniors, Community and Social Services, Statistics Canada, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for your reference as you develop the needs assessment. 

Step 4

Collect and prepare the required data in collaboration with community partners as needed. As you collect your data, enter it into the online needs assessment tool. You can leave and return to the form as needed, as well as share the form with others to enter the information.

Step 5

Ensure you have the endorsement of the municipality or municipalities you are submitting the needs assessment for, such as approval from council, council committee or the municipal general manager.

Step 6

Review the information and click submit. You will receive a confirmation notice along with a completed version of the needs assessment for your records. Department staff may be in touch with questions or requests for additional information. 


Connect with the Housing Division about housing needs assessments:

Email: [email protected].