Tight markets and low rental production makes affordable housing hard to
find in North
TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - Authors of a newly released report on
housing issues are calling on provincial candidates to focus on
creating affordable homes for more than 152,000 households on housing
wait lists across Ontario.
The 2011 edition of Where's Home?, authored by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) and the
Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada Ontario Region (CHF Canada
Ontario Region), analyzes 22 separate housing markets and highlights
the need for more affordable rental housing across the Province.
This year's report shows that it is increasingly difficult for low and
modest income people in Northern Ontario to find affordable rental
housing options that are appropriate for their families. Vacancy rates
in North Bay (2.1%), Timmins (1.7%), and Thunder Bay (2.2%) are all
below the 3% vacancy rate threshold - meaning tenants have fewer
choices for rental housing and that rent increases taking place after a
unit is vacated are higher in Northern Ontario than in other areas.
"While vacancy rates vary from region to region in the North, one thing
that is consistent is the relatively inadequate amount of rental
housing production," says Sharad Kerur, ONPHA's Executive Director.
"While areas like North Bay and Sudbury have seen modest increases in
rental housing over the past few years, it is still nowhere near enough
to make up for almost non-existent rental housing development between
1996 and 2006. In some areas the situation is even more serious - in
Timmins, there has been virtually no new rental housing built in 20
In addition to inadequate supply, rent levels in some areas of Northern
Ontario have increased substantially in recent years.
"Low vacancy rates, increasing demand and a lack of new production is a
recipe for rent increases," said Harvey Cooper, Manager of Government
Relations at CHF Canada Ontario Region. "North Bay saw the greatest
average rent increase in Ontario last year - a 4.1% rise, and in
Sudbury rents have gone up over 25% since 2005. These are more than
just numbers, for many families even a small increase in rent means a
big impact on the household budget."
While this year's report brings attention to a number of troubling
trends, there are bright spots that show progress can be made if
communities have access to innovative ideas, government support, and
sufficient levels of funding.
"While the number of new rental units being produced is not nearly
enough to meet the growing demand, recent initiatives - particularly
the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program (AHP) - have helped
create more affordable and supportive housing for those in need," said
Kerur. "Since 2005, over 8,500 of these units were created by
non-profit and, to a lesser extent, co-operative housing organizations
- showing that with government funding and support, communities can
create more affordable homes."
In order to meet increasing rental housing demand, over 10,000 new
rental units would need to be built each and every year for the next
ten years in Ontario. While the need is big, so is the commitment of
the organizations that make up the membership of ONPHA and CHF Canada
"We know that housing is a fundamental building block of people's
lives," says Cooper. "Our members want to see senior governments take a
balanced approach to the creation of more affordable housing for people
across the income spectrum. By combining permanently affordable co-op
and non-profit housing, private sector rental, renovation programs for
existing housing stock and financial tools like rent supplements to
fill vacant units, we can move people off housing waiting lists and
into affordable homes."
"Where's Home?" can be found on www.onpha.on.ca or www.chfcanada.coop.
SOURCE Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA)
For further information:
ONPHA's Margaret McCutcheon: 647-400-7496 or (416) 927-9144 ext. 115
CHF Canada Ontario Region's Harvey Cooper: (416) 809-5048 (cell) or (416) 366-1711 ext. 237