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.

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.

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

Government conducts the Rural Apartment Vacancy and Rental Cost Survey each year to help inform the annual income thresholds used to determine eligibility for some housing programs.

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's total annual income (non-senior household). Rent does not include electricity, phone, TV and any additional services such as parking.

Management and tenant selection responsibilities belong to local housing providers.

To find housing, see the How to apply section below

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 household's adjusted income. Rent does not include electricity, phone, TV and any additional services such as parking.

Management and tenant selection responsibilities belong to local housing providers.

To find housing, see the How to apply section below.

Seniors lodge

The Seniors Lodge Program offers private 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 whose care needs would not otherwise be appropriately provided for in a 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 responsibilities 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.

To find housing, see the How to apply section below.

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.

Management and tenant selection responsibilities belong to local housing providers.

To find housing, see the How to apply section below.

Rent Supplement Program

The Rent Supplement Program helps make rental accommodation more affordable by subsidizing rent.

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 below to contact your local housing provider for availability.

For questions, call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll free at 1-877-644-9992, or 780-644-9992 if you are in Edmonton.

Types of 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 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
  • two-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.

Local housing providers pay private landlords a rent supplement to subsidize the difference between a negotiated market rent and 30% of a household's adjusted income.

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.

How to apply

Step 1. Determine the program that meets your needs

Each affordable housing program has program-specific eligibility requirements. Determine which program is best for you.

Step 2. Find a local housing provider

Once you find a program that meets your needs, click on the Find housing button below to search for a local housing provider responsible for subsidized housing in your area.

Find housing

Step 3. Contact the local housing provider for an application

Contact a local housing provider for more information on the desired facility and how to apply.

Resources

Supportive Living Accommodation Licensing Act

Alberta Housing Act and Regulations

Seniors Lodge Program Advisory Committee Report

Seniors and Housing – Vendor Performance Management Program