By Madeleine Cummings
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 9:40:41 MST AM

A new documentary aims to start discussions about social housing in Edmonton.

McCauley, an inner-city neighbourhood northeast of downtown, has a disproportionately high percentage of social housing. More than half of housing in the area is below market-rate.

Paula Kirman, the editor of Boyle McCauley News, spent a year interviewing 25 people for McCauley: A Caring Community — Conversations on Social Housing. Her goal was to dispel myths about social housing and determine what makes a caring community.

“It was really necessary to have a video that could be taken around the community groups to foster discussions about social housing and why it needs to be a city-wide responsibility,” she said.

Interviewees in the film speak highly of McCauley’s inclusivity and the benefits of having social housing nearby.

At the same time, community leaders in McCauley argue that other neighbourhoods could stand to follow McCauley’s lead.

“Arguably, when 60 per cent of housing in a neighbourhood is non-market housing, we’ve kind of achieved a threshold which is too much,” said Phil O’Hara, a longtime resident and president of the McCauley Community League, in the film.

“I feel a lot of pressure to make sure that we do what we can as a city to relieve the burden McCauley has faced over the years for being the host community for a lot of social issues in Edmonton,” said city councillor Scott McKeen, who was also interviewed in the film.

According to a report released by the Edmonton Community Foundation and Edmonton Social Planning Council, 41 per cent of renters in Edmonton live in unaffordable housing, paying more than 30 per cent of their household income on housing costs in 2016.

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