The waiting lists are long.

More than 24,000 Albertans are waiting for affordable housing. There are already more than 57,000 people living in a unit.

To address this, the Alberta government has announced plans to reduce the wait on Monday.

The goal is to increase capacity by 40% to serve a total of 82,000 homes.

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Senior Housing and Senior Minister Josephine Pon said the 10-year strategy is based on what they heard from the Affordable Housing Review Panel.

“Albertans deserve a flexible, fair, inclusive and sustainable housing system. Stronger Foundations’ strategy focuses on partnerships and innovation to meet the diverse and unique housing needs of Albertans across the province now and in the future. Having a safe place to call home will create new opportunities for Albertans, ”Pon said.

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The average public housing is 35 years old and expensive to maintain. The province is looking to sell some homes.

“A framework to govern our partnership with the private and nonprofit sectors is already in the works on a plan to manage the government’s own affordable housing assets,” Pon said.

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When the houses are sold, the buyer of the unit can use it for whatever he sees fit. The province said it will only sell a small portion of the units that are underutilized and have been vacant and that it will use taxpayer dollars to maintain the unit.

This raises concerns that it could be a step towards privatization.

“I think this is a bad news bill for Albertans, and we should not sell affordable housing. We need to build more and own it, ”said Lori Sigurdson, NDP senior and housing critic.

“They are absolving themselves of responsibility and are selling assets that should really be propping up and investing.”

Pon said this is not the direction they are going.

“I know some people may say that we are taking a step towards privatization. Let me be clear, this is not true, ”Pon said.

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“We are focusing on partnership. Government investment alone cannot meet the need and growing demand in Alberta. “

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