Table of contents

Overview

The Alberta government works with a variety of housing providers, including municipalities, housing management bodies, non-profit and private sector organizations, to build and operate affordable housing for Albertans with low income.

There are different options available to help you with the costs of rental housing:

  • subsidized housing for families, seniors and individuals with low income
  • monthly rent benefits
  • other below-market options offered by select housing providers (mixed income apartments)

Local housing providers are responsible for building management and tenant selection.

Find out how to apply for housing.

Find housing options

Use the new Find housing tool to see what affordable housing options are available to you.

Find housing

Eligibility

To be eligible for provincial affordable housing programs, applicants must have an income below local income limits as determined by the market for that community. Refer to the income thresholds document to determine if your income qualifies.

Applicants must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Other applicable eligibility requirements from the housing provider may apply.

Once deemed eligible, applicants are given priority based on need. Priority of need is determined by a number of factors, including, but not limited to:

  • income
  • assets
  • number of dependants
  • current housing condition

Note: specific programs may have additional or different eligibility criteria.

Find housing

Rent Supplement Program

The Rent Supplement Program helps make rental accommodation more affordable by subsidizing rent. There are 2 types of benefits:

  • Rent Assistance Benefit
  • Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit

Local housing providers are responsible for management and tenant selection for this program.

To access the Rent Supplement Program, see the how to apply section and contact your local housing provider for availability.

For more information, contact the Alberta Supports Contact Centre.

Types of rent supplement benefits

Rent Assistance Benefit

The Rent Assistance Benefit (formerly the Direct to Tenant Rent Supplement) is now open.

The Rent Assistance Benefit is a long-term benefit available to subsidize the rent for Albertans with low income.

Benefit features:

  • paid directly to tenants
  • available through most housing management bodies across Alberta
  • households are eligible if they are below local income thresholds
  • amount is calculated based on household income and local market rent
  • households are prioritized based on need
  • may be renewed annually
  • no limit to benefit renewals if eligible

Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit

The Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit is now open.

The Temporary Rent Assistance Benefit provides a modest subsidy for working households with low income or those between jobs. Support is intended to help eligible tenants afford their rent while they stabilize or improve their situation.

Benefit features:

  • paid directly to tenants
  • available in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Red Deer
  • households are eligible if they are if they are below local income thresholds and employed or have been employed in the last 24 months and are not receiving social assistance, including:
    • Income Support
    • Learner Income Support
    • Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped
    • Alberta Seniors Benefit
    • Guaranteed Income Supplement
    • Old Age Security
  • amount calculated based on household size and location – will be reduced in the second year
  • 2-year limit with eligibility reassessed after the first year
  • households are prioritized on a first-come, first-served basis
  • households can reapply for rent assistance at the end of 2 years

Private Landlord Rent Supplement

The Private Landlord Rent Supplement is not reopening. Current recipients will be transitioned to the Rent Assistance Benefit as funding agreements for those units expire.

Community housing

The Community Housing Program provides subsidized rental housing for families, seniors and individuals with low income who cannot afford other housing options due to circumstance.

A tenant’s rent, which includes heat, water and sewer expenses, is based on 30% of a household total annual income (non-senior household).

Rent does not include electricity, phone, TV, and any additional services such as parking.

Seniors apartments

Also known as the Seniors Self-contained Housing program, this program provides apartment-style housing to seniors, who are able to live independently with or without the assistance of community-based services.

Applicants must be 65 years of age or older. Exceptions may be made for applicants with special circumstances. In addition, applicants must be functionally independent, with or without the assistance of community-based services.

A tenant’s rent, which includes heat, water and sewer expenses, is based on 30% of a households adjusted income.

Rent does not include electricity, phone, TV and any additional services such as parking.

Seniors lodge

The Seniors Lodge program provides rooms, meals, housekeeping services and recreational opportunities for independent seniors. Community based services may help offer these amenities and opportunities.

A seniors lodge may be appropriate for those who do not require care in a specialized health care facility.

Applicants must be 65 years of age or older. Exceptions may be made for applicants with special circumstances. In addition, applicants must be functionally independent, with or without the assistance of community-based services.

Management and resident selection opportunities belong to local housing providers. Each local housing provider sets their own lodge rates, and rates vary between regions. Regardless of the monthly lodge rate, each resident must be left with at least $322 in monthly disposable income.

Special needs housing

Special Needs Housing options are available for individuals who have special housing needs, including:

  • people with developmental disabilities
  • people with physical challenges
  • victims of family violence
  • wards of the provincial government
  • the hard-to-house
  • any other group with special housing needs

Special Needs Housing options may include support services for residents.

How to apply

Step 1. Answer a few simple questions

Use the find housing tool to see what housing options are available to meet your needs.

Find housing

Step 2. Find and select a housing provider

Look through the available options and choose a local housing provider that offers a program that suits your situation.

Under the Alberta Housing Act and regulations, as well as operating agreements, housing providers are responsible for the day-to-day operation of housing programs and managing applications for housing.

Step 3. Contact the housing provider for an application

Contact information for housing providers is available at the end of the Find housing tool.

Design and Technical Guidelines

The Design and Technical Guidelines outline the minimum standards required when developing provincially-funded housing in Alberta.

The guidelines provide design principles and technical specifications for the construction of affordable housing. They provide direction to housing management organizations, designers, project managers, developers and contractors in new construction and major renovation projects.

The fact sheets give a quick overview and summary of each housing accommodation type, its functions, and key design characteristics. They include a typical functional program table to assist in planning areas for the specific accommodation type.

Resources

Seniors Lodge Program Advisory Committee Report

Rural Apartment Vacancy and Rental Cost Survey

Seniors and Housing – Vendor Performance Management Program

Funding to plan or build affordable housing

Acts, regulatory, and legal information

Alberta Housing Act

Alberta Housing regulations

Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act

Income thresholds

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