ONPHA launches new public engagement campaign that proves even if you
can afford your home, the issue of affordable housing affects you.
TORONTO, May 7, 2013 /CNW/ - More than 156,000 Ontario households are
waiting for access to safe, secure and affordable housing, but the lack
of affordable housing not only affects them, it affects everyone in the
province. Today the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) launched Housing Opens Doors, a public engagement campaign meant to encourage Ontarians to
reconsider the issue of affordable housing in the province.
"People often assume the issue of affordable housing only impacts the
homeless or those held on waiting lists, sometimes for as long as 10
years, to receive affordable housing support. The truth is, affordable
housing is the home of all issues in this province," said Sharad Kerur.
Executive Director, ONPHA. "Affordable housing means more opportunity,
better healthcare and economic prosperity for everyone."
As part of the campaign, ONPHA will be assembling a series of dramatic
travelling installations across Ontario to show how the lack of
affordable housing has a ripple effect on all Ontarians. The fixture
will feature a series of free-standing doors that gradually reveal the
benefits of affordable housing and invite the public to show their
commitment to affordable housing by ringing a doorbell. Each time a
doorbell is rung it will contribute to a live tally on the Housing Opens Doors website. The goal is to achieve 156,358 rings of support, one for every
Ontario household still waiting for an affordable home.
The first display is installed today at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto,
and will travel to public spaces in Windsor, Ottawa and North Bay in
"Ontario needs to do more to support affordable housing and start
thinking of it as an investment that will improve our province," said
Kerur. "We hope this program and the support we receive from Ontarians
will help move this issue to the top of Ontario's agenda."
Students and Youth
Studies have shown that children's school performance suffers when
parents are struggling with providing comfortable living conditions.
Currently, more than one-in-five Ontario renters, many of whom are
hard-working people, are paying more than 50 per cent of their income
on rent. Families are making tough choices between paying rent and
putting healthy meals on the table. There are currently more than
56,000 families with children on the waiting list for affordable
housing in Ontario. Creating a stable home environment for children
reduces stress and anxiety, resulting in positive impact on educational
Economy and Workforce
With affordable housing, tenants are better equipped to maintain
full-time or part-time jobs. With comfort and stability at home,
tenants are better equipped to manage workplace stress; they are more
focused and can afford childcare, meaning reduced absenteeism and
increased employee retention.
Investing in affordable housing also improves our economy by creating
thousands of construction jobs and creates a steady flow of work in the
upkeep of existing buildings.
People without affordable homes are five-times more likely to be
hospitalized than other members of the general public. Having safe,
clean and affordable housing helps people avoid a number of health
risks associated with poor living conditions. This is especially
important for the more than 39,000 seniors on waiting lists for
affordable homes. By fostering better physical and mental health,
affordable housing decreases the burden on Ontario's health services.
"We see that when people have to make a choice between paying the rent
and putting food on the table, it is usually food that is sacrificed,"
said Gail Nyberg, executive director, Daily Bread Food Bank. "More
affordable housing would mean fewer people would have to make the
choice between rent and food. This can have further impact on things
like a children's education; when they're focusing on their hunger
rather than their learning."
The "Housing Opens Doors" initiative is organized by ONPHA and has many
supporters, including housing providers, tenants, sponsors, concerned
citizens and organizations serving the public. Some supporters include
Daily Bread Food Bank, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada and
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario.
To to see videos that provide a quick overview on how affordable housing
impacts all Ontarians, please visit here.
For almost 25 years, ONPHA has been the voice of non‐profit housing in
Ontario. Our 771 member organizations operate more than 160,000
non‐profit housing units and provide housing for approximately 400,000
people such as the elderly, low‐income families with children, the
working poor, victims of violence and abuse, people living with
developmental disabilities, mental illness, HIV/AIDS or addictions and
the formerly homeless/hard‐to‐house. ONPHAʹs members include municipal
and private non‐profits of all sizes, with all types of funding.
SOURCE: Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA)
For further information:
Weber Shandwick on behalf of ONPHA
Office: (416) 642-7958
Cell: (416) 569-4302
Find ONPHA online: