Province expands rent assistance program to more Albertans

Albertans who are struggling to make ends meet will soon be able to access government funding aimed at helping tenants with the rising cost of rent.

The provincial government announced Friday that more than 80 communities will now have access to the temporary rent assistance benefit, a government subsidy that helps make rental accommodations more affordable.

The payments are offered to all working households in Alberta for a period of up to two years to allow them to “stabilize or improve their situation.”

This is also the first time that the program is open to applicants in communities such as Airdrie, Fort Macleod, Rocky Mountain House and Conklin, officials say.

“By expanding the temporary rent assistance benefit to over 80 communities, more support is available to Albertans in need helping make life more affordable during inflation,” said Alberta’s Minister of Seniors and Housing Josephine Pon in a release.

Officials who work to help Albertans seeking housing say the expansion of the benefit is critical for vulnerable families who are faced with rising costs.

“With the newly announced expansion of the temporary rent assistance benefit, Lethbridge Housing Authority is now able to serve over 30 communities in southwestern Alberta. We are thankful for the government’s investment in rent support and look forward to serving rural Albertans,” said Lethbridge Housing Authority CAO Robin James.”

The benefit is provided on a first-come, first-served basis and is paid directly to eligible tenants, the province says.

RENT INCREASING IN CALGARY

According to online rental website Zumper, the price of rent in Calgary and Edmonton is on the rise, with the sharper increases in fees taking place in Cowtown.

The site says the average price for a one-bedroom apartment here is $1,310, approximately 16 per cent more than it was a year ago. Larger units – those with two bedrooms – are also more expensive, coming in at $1,550 per month (16.9 per cent more than in 2021.)

The price increases in Edmonton are a little slower, Zumper says, with the rent for a one-bedroom being $960 per month (3.2 per cent higher) and a two-bedroom is $1,250 per month (2.5 per cent higher).

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