Flood relief housing is no longer free

The Alberta Government has established rental rates for flood victims living in the temporary neighbourhoods of Saddlebrook and Great Plains. Starting November 15 residents will pay $627 for a single adult $956 for two adults living together $933 for one adult and one child and $1217 for two adults and two children together.

The Municipal Affairs Ministry says rent will cover 10 per cent of the overall operating costs of the neighbourhoods. The price includes food cable Internet and recreation.

“After the floods our government committed to providing up to 90 days of cost-free accommodation for flood evacuees. As people begin to make longer term plans for re-establishing their lives it’s fitting that they now begin contributing to the cost of their accommodation” Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths said in a press release.

Residents can also apply to have the Disaster Recovery Program cover their rent in the relief communities if they cannot afford it.

Some of the residences in Saddlebrook and Great Plains are dorm-style and require groups to share bathroom and eating facilities. Municipal Affairs spokesperson Kathleen Range says quarters are “not expansive” but staff is working hard to make people as comfortable as possible in their temporary homes.

“At Saddlebrook there are three restaurants onsite: a more casual café style where you can get hamburgers and that sort of thing and then there is a steakhouse restaurant as well as an international restaurant. They also have recreation facilities so there’s a gym and there’s a common recreation area and there’s also a… recreation room with televisions and video games for the kids as well as painting stations for the kids… and an outdoor playground.”

There are approximately 950 people registered to live at Saddlebrook which opened near High River in August. Great Plains which has just opened in Calgary’s southeast industrial area has the capacity for 700 people when fully occupied. Mobile homes available for flood victims in Exshaw Canmore and Cochrane will be charged market-value rents.