An ambitious plan to make more lower-income Calgarians homeowners — rather than renters — is moving full steam ahead, according to one of the aldermen spearheading the project.

The Attainable Homeownership Program will see 1,000 affordably priced homes built around the city, according to Ward 11 Ald. Brian Pincott, that can be purchased instead of rented.

Pincott said the city has a full spectrum of housing, including emergency shelters and subsidized rental housing, to market rentals and then market homeownership — but there is no step between market renting and market owning. It’s a step that he says often proves overwhelming for those with lower incomes.

“People are not able to make that leap — there’s a gap of affordability,” said Pincott. The city wanted to create a pool of homes that could be purchased — and be “perpetually affordable” through a subsidy process and still allow homeowners to build equity as they make payments, Pincott said.

The city will be offering up land, and some interest has been expressed by builders to help develop a variety of housing options — from multi-family to townhouses.

Calgary Homeless Foundation President and CEO, Tim Richter, likes the plan, saying it’s cost effective and it helps low-income families build equity — something he says can eventually lead to a family’s long-term sustainability.

“I think it’s a great way for the city to get involved,” said Richter. “They already own and operate subsidized and affordable housing, so this fits exactly with what the city has traditionally been involved in.”

Pincott said a timeline for construction starts would be released later this fall.