June 15th, 2024

LHA gets funding boost to help those in need of affordable housing


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on March 14, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Provincial funding increases are going to allow Lethbridge Housing Authority help about 200 people on its waiting list for affordable housing.

There are presently more than 800 needy people on the list for secure, safe and affordable housing in the city.

Chief administrative officer Robin James said Monday the LHA is receiving an increase of $466,000 to its rental assistance benefit for the 2023-24 budget. It’s also getting one-time funding of $586,000 to support the communities the LHA serves with rental assistance.

This investment by the province of more than $1 million will also help the LHA serve Ukrainian refugees who have come to Lethbridge to escape the war in their homeland.

“We’ll be able to assist over 200 more families,” said James.

“Right now, especially with inflation and rents on the rise, I think it will be very impactful for a lot of low to moderate-income families,” added James.

Up to now, the LHA hasn’t been able to help the Ukrainians, noted James, but the new infusion of money will be available for them to apply for, as well.

“We’re excited to be able to serve them now,” added James.

They will be able to apply for both rent supplements and community housing, the CAO said.

“Hopefully it’ll be just the helping hand they need to get up and running…it’s nice to be able to give them a hand for the first year even and then they can get on their feet and get going.”

James said the new funding came with the 2023 provincial budget.

“This is a huge increase for us. Usually, our regular operating budget is just over $3 million so this pushes us over $4 million. It’s a significant increase for Lethbridge. We’re super grateful that we have a Deputy Premier here that’s going to advocate for us so we can actually see some significant increases. That will make a huge difference,” said James.

The CAO said she’s hoping people on the waiting list will apply, adding some may feel with 800 others on the list they’ll never get the help they need and it’s not worth applying.

But James said it is worth the effort.

She said numbers ebb and flow – “there’s lots of jobs out there right now but we have a higher than Alberta average for seniors, we have a higher than Alberta average for client that are on income supports and AISh” in Lethbridge so the city does have a lower income for the provincial average.

“So we do see quite a need here,” added James.

“We’re thinking this is going to make quite a difference.”

Applications can be made on the LHA website at lethbridgehousing.ca

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