Creating Rural Connections

Through Education


Latest ARDN Info

ARDN’s most current information is featured below.



**Please carefully read this entire information page before beginning an application. There is also a guide to the application that we would highly recommend reading**

The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) is currently accepting funding applications from organizations interested in obtaining financial assistance to achieve activities specific to meeting the needs of homeless and at-risk people living in rural and remote areas in the province of Alberta. Project activities must take place outside of the “Seven Cities” in Alberta (Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, and Fort McMurray). While other projects may be considered, priority will be given to projects that provide supports and services that:

  • reduce individuals’ risk of homelessness
  • ensure stable living arrangements for those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
  • provide support to help ensure that people who are homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless can stabilize their circumstances and move beyond emergency needs
  • introduce supports to improve health, parenting, education, and employment outcomes
  • create longer‑term solutions, especially supports and tools that help develop stable living arrangements, as well as facilitate permanent arrangements and economic integration for homeless individuals
  • utilize or encourage a “housing first” approach
  • prepare a community to address homelessness

Deadline for Applications:

Applications must be received via email to Jonn Kmech, Program Manager, at programs@ardn.ca with the subject line Attention: HPS Funding Application no later than 11:59 pm Mountain Daylight Savings Time on November 14, 2016. Please use a read receipt to verify that your email has been received.  A confirmation email will be sent upon receipt of an application.

***Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.***

***Project activities MUST take place outside of the “Seven Cities” as mentioned above. Applications for projects that take place inside the Seven Cities will NOT be considered.***

***Organizations located within the Seven Cities proposing projects that would take place OUTSIDE of the cities MAY be eligible. Please contact us for more information in this case before submitting a full application.***

Project duration:

This funding is intended for projects that will start no earlier than December 1, 2016. Project activities that occur prior to December 1, 2016, or prior to the date of contract signing (whichever is later) are not eligible for reimbursement. Projects can be of any duration (6 months, 1 year, etc.), but MUST be completed no later than March 31, 2018. Projects funding capital investments ARE eligible, and priority may be given to projects of short duration that can be completed by March 31, 2017.


To discuss your project idea or for more information, please contact Jonn Kmech (Program Manager) at programs@ardn.ca or 780-862-8118 (please call only between 9 am to 5 pm weekdays).




Steel modular units make construction “cheaper, quicker, better”

Rural Albertans of limited means may soon benefit from new housing through the Sustainable Housing Initiative (SHI). The initiative is a partnership project led by the Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) with support from municipalities and in one case, contributions from a local college.

In 2015, around 40 rural communities indicated to ARDN that they needed affordable housing. In partnership with ARDN, several communities have now applied for funding to do a needs assessment or feasibility study. Project specific analysis of need and demand and/or preliminary analysis of financial viability will start in early 2016. The construction of the first of these multi-unit dwellings is expected to start in 2017.

“When we first began looking at the issue of rural homelessness, we were surprised by the immense need for affordable housing in rural Alberta,” said Dee Ann Benard, ARDN executive director. “The biggest challenge for this project is raising enough money to have these units built. Several municipalities have stepped up and we are working to obtain other funding to see it through.”

The project’s commercial partner is Ladacor, a Calgary based manufacturer that constructs multi-story, multi-family modular buildings through the repurposing of steel shipping containers. Modular units are prefabricated at Ladacor’s 28,400 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, enabling them to build affordable housing in 30-50% of the usual time and at a reduced cost.

“These structures are steel based so they are strong and fire-resistant. Our goal is to provide a safer and more durable structure than those made with traditional wood frames,” said Joseph Kiss, Ladacor president. “In short, we believe our modular system approach gives options to build cheaper, quicker and better.”

The biggest demand for these modular buildings comes from rural communities. Ladacor is currently building a new four story hotel in Bruderheim, Alberta and previously completed the largest shipping container based hotel in North America, the Days Inn in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. “So this project is a good fit for us,” said Kiss.

Kiss offered reassurance for rural communities concerned that manufacturing components in Calgary will take away jobs in their community. “We definitely contribute to local employment opportunities. When the modular units come to the building site, they need to be installed, interconnected and exterior finished in addition to the numerous site works required. This work is typically given to local suppliers. In traditional construction, in many cases, the projects can be too big for the local community to handle, so work crews are often brought in from the city, leaving limited work for local residents.”


ARDN is a not-for-profit partnership of Alberta colleges and universities working together to enhance the quality of life in rural Alberta through research and learning. 

Ladacor is a Canadian business that designs, tests and manufactures unique modular units in its 28,400 sq. ft. facility in Calgary. More details at www.ladacor.com.

Media contacts: 

Dee Ann Benard                                                                              Joseph Kiss

ARDN Executive Director                                                                 Ladacor President

(780) 915-1751                                                                                (587) 352-5922

exec.dir@ardn.ca                                                                            jkiss@ladacor.com

Read our Annual Report!

ARDN’s 2014-2015 Annual Report has been published! 

Read the 2014-2015 Annual Report which was presented to ARDN’s Board in October. The report can be found here.


Plain Language Summaries and Presentations from Creating Rural Connections 2015 have been posted! 

All Plain Language Summaries have been posted in our Rural Project Library here.

The ARDN collects reliable research and hosts it in our Rural Project Library and archives the research done. Let us know what you’re working on!

The link to the archived webcasts of the keynote speakers are here.

This link hosts video of all speakers and presenters who held sessions in the Lancaster Room, and includes keynote speeches from Yale Belanger and Doug Griffiths. 

News Release: November 7, 2014

Tackling the Homelessness Issue in Rural & Remote Alberta: Over $2M Awarded to Projects in 11 Communities 

Homelessness, while often hidden, is an indisputable fact in rural Alberta; one that, unfortunately, also appears to be on the rise. Housing and support services are a growing need in rural communities, to help those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, before their problems get worse. The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) has awarded $2,022,820 to 11 projects under the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy. This funding will help small, rural and remote communities provide their citizens with increased access to housing and the supports and services they need.



ARDN’s Annual Report is now available online, click on the link to view.



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