2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Graphic by Eula Mengullo

SU advocates for affordable housing

By Eula Mengullo, June 10 2023—

On Tuesday, City Council voted against the Housing and Affordability Task Force recommendations that would have created additional homes, affordable housing units, backyard suites and a host of other supports.

After receiving heavy criticism from organizations across the city — including the Students’ Union (SU) — the council reversed this decision and agreed to vote on the recommendations again come September. 

“We responded quickly and raised the alarm along with other groups in Calgary,” said VP External Mateusz Salmassi. “As a result of pressure, we saw City Council vote to reconsider the task force recommendations.”

In the months leading up to the new voting date, the SU will be releasing calls to action to ensure that the recommendations for affordable housing will come to pass. 

“What we’re going to do now over the summer and fall is lobby as much as we can to City Council to make sure that every single one of the recommendations stays in the final package,” said Salmassi. 

“We feel very strongly that every single measure is crucial for affordable housing in Calgary,” he continued.

In anticipation of the City Council opening public consultation in the coming months, the SU will also be announcing further actions for students to get involved.

While Salmassi acknowledged that all provisions of the recommendation should be passed, he also highlighted that it does not go far enough to ensure that students are housed in safe and liveable conditions. 

“While we want to fight for all provisions on the Affordable Housing Task Force, it doesn’t go far enough to include provisions for landlord licensing,” said Salmassi. “We need to make sure that when students get housing that it’s safe and liveable and that their rights are respected.” 

Further, Salmassi calls for the university to take a more proactive approach to providing housing support for students. 

“The university can’t just provide emergency support, they also need to provide more proactive support,” he said. “We need the university to take action both on campus but also in the university district and look at making sure that there are units set aside and reserved for students in the district as well.”

In the meantime, Salmassi asks students to stay tuned for future announcements on how to take part in the SU’s advocacy surrounding affordable housing. 

“The final council vote will demonstrate where the two priorities lie for City Council because we saw the city able to rally to pay the 97 per cent of the upfront cost of the new arena, but faltered and hesitated and almost got rid of action on affordable housing,” said Salmassi.

“Stay tuned and be ready to rally behind actions taken to push City Council to adopt these recommendations.”

For more information on the Students’ Union’s advocacy for affordable housing, visit their Instagram page.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet