The City of Saskatoon has approved a policy change that will support more affordable housing through mixed-market projects in the city — a housing model that combines market, affordable and special needs housing within a single project.

The Planning & Development Standing Committee put forward a tax abatement policy amendment item on Monday that allows mixed-market housing projects to apply for a five-year tax abatement for their affordable housing units

The change will also retroactively apply to four developments that include a combined total of 57 affordable housing units: the Central Urban Metis Federation Inc. (14 affordable units), K.C. Charities affordable seniors housing (30 units), Petrichor Developments (7 units), and the NAHC’s Willowview Heights development (6 units).

Mixed-market (or mixed-income) housing is where affordable housing units are combined with market housing units within the same development to help support ongoing financial sustainability of the affordable units.

Previously, the city’s incentive policy penalized affordable housing units in mixed-market developments by disqualifying these projects from being eligible for affordable housing tax abatements offered by the City.

NAHC recognized there was a gap in the city’s policy, and that many cities in Canada provide incentive support for mixed-market developments.

We reached out to the city about changing the policy, and wrote in support of the decision alongside three other affordable housing providers that were previously approved for municipal capital funding contributions towards the affordable units but denied the City’s affordable housing tax abatements due to the policy limitation.

“We congratulate the city for their responsiveness to our efforts to remedy some ineffective administrative affordable housing policies,” stated the NAHC’s Municipal Housing Specialist Alan Wallace. “Providing a combined total of $203,734 in five-year tax abatements will go a long way to helping these four organizations deliver affordable housing that supports vulnerable and hard-to-house low-income people in Saskatoon.”

Allowing the city to provide a tax abatement for mixed-market developments is a significant step forward to increase the supply of inclusive affordable housing in our city.