Finding Affordable Housing

The system for providing affordable housing in Calgary is becoming more centralized.  Here are a few main ways you can access affordable housing that is also accessible.

Calgary Housing Company Back to Top

Calgary Housing Company (CHC) is the single largest provider of affordable housing in the city.  To apply for housing from CHC, you will need to complete several forms, available on CHC’s website. Typically, you will need to fill out:

  • an Application form;
  • a Release of Information form; and
  • an Accessible Housing Needs Assessment Form.

Note: When you come to question five on the Accessible Housing Needs Assessment Form, consider that the majority of Accessible U users are likely to have accommodation that is not accessible. You may be able to “make it work” in your current housing,  even if the housing is not actually meaningfully accessible –a space where you can move around, bathe and cook without barriers. Explaining the ways your current housing is inaccessible is an important part of filling out this form.

Use the following Calgary Housing Company descriptions of accessibility levels to describe your needs:

  • Level 1 – Persons requiring Level 1 access generally use a walker within the home and a wheelchair for outings. Therefore, the access points to the building/suite must be wheelchair accessible.
  • Level 2 – Persons requiring Level 2 access use a wheelchair on a full time basis and who can complete transfers to and from the toilet and tub. These persons may also be able to stand for short periods of time like at a sink. Therefore, the suite must have wider hallways and doors to accommodate wheelchair turning requirements. The bathroom should accommodate a wheelchair and space for transfers.
  • Level 3 – Persons requiring Level 3 access use a wheelchair full time and are not able to transfer by themselves. They would require either a lift or an attendant at all times when transferring. Persons needing this level of access would require a fully adapted suite including a wheel in shower for use with a shower commode chair. The bathroom dimensions should be large enough to accommodate wheelchair turning space. The flooring should be smooth throughout the suite. The kitchen should be fully wheelchair accessible. If there is a balcony, it too should be accessible via wheelchair. 

In addition to filling out the forms, you will also need to outline your needs in a supplementary letter. In your letter, focus on accessibility, including details about your current housing experience and your future housing needs related to accessibility. This can be very helpful to CHC staff.

Additional letters or assessments from health care professionals can further help you specify your housing needs, particularly if they explain the degree to which your current housing is unsafe or inappropriate.

Updating your file 

  • If you have already submitted a CHC application, you must contact CHC at least once a year, either by phone or in person, to keep your file active.
  • If you have submitted a CHC application and any of the information in it changes, you must update your file. For example, to change your address or phone number, call 587-390-1200. To change other information in your application – including the status of your disability, your accessibility needs, your source or amount of income or the rent you pay – CHC requests you update your information in person at one of their three locations

Location of residence

  • Selecting areas in which you are actually willing to live is important. If you select locations in which you are willing to live and a unit from one of the selected areas is offered to you but you refuse it, CHC will suspend your file for six months and not offer you another unit in that time period. 

SORCe Back to Top

For people experiencing homelessness, access to supportive housing is managed mainly by the Safe Communities Opportunity and Resource Centre (SORCe), a centralized access point. You can visit SORCe in person at the City Hall LRT station (316-7 Avenue SE), by phone (403-428-3300), and find more info online.

Seniors Housing Back to Top

Here are a few main sources of housing for seniors.

  • The Kerby Centre has assembled a comprehensive list of housing that is specifically designated for seniors.  The list includes both affordable and market housing.
  • Continuing Care provides supportive living for seniors.  You can access Continuing Care through Alberta Health Services. 

Supportive Housing Back to Top

Continuing Care provides supportive living for Albertans who need ongoing care. Access to Continuing Care is governed by Alberta Health Services, and the process begins with an assessment.