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Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson hopeful federal cash will address housing

Mayor hopeful many sites could be rebuilt with federal dollars

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.

Metro File

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.

Mayor Don Iveson is optimistic the city will soon be able to fix dozens of social housing sites and add more units in the process.

Speaking to a Canadian Home Builders Association’s conference Thursday, Iveson said the city owns the land under a number of affordable housing projects that need re-investment.

“They present an opportunity for redevelopment with at least the same number of deep subsidy units,” he said.

Iveson pointed to a site in Londonderry with 80 units that had to be closed down last fall because of asbestos and other issues.

He said the city could redevelop that if federal cash was available and he believes the government is prepared to offer it.

“They are passionate about this issue and are planning to pull some big levers,” he said.

In a struggling economy, Iveson said building affordable units could help get people back to work as well.

“Housing projects can move pretty quick if we all get organized,” he said. “This could be a stimulus effort. This could help all of us with social issues and stabilize vulnerable families.”

Redeveloping the sites could add more units to the properties, which could be offered at market rents to help subsidize the maintenance of the rest of the complex.

Iveson said the model could easily be repeated over time at the 125 sites within the city.

“If we can make it work there, we can make it work dozens of times over to meet the need.”

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