Advocates highlight housing needs of Peel Region at consultation, Call for long term solutions and immediate action



    TORONTO, June 29 /CNW/ - The Housing Network of Ontario is working with
Peel-based housing and homelessness advocates to ensure that the real
solutions to the housing needs of people living in Peel Region are front and
centre at tonight's provincial government housing consultation. The Assistant
Deputy Minister - Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is expected to
attend the forum at 6:30pm at Terry Miller Rec Centre, 1295 Williams Parkway
in Brampton.
    "Housing insecurity and homelessness are sometimes less visible in the
high-growth regions of the GTA, including Peel, York and Halton," says Michael
Shapcott of the Wellesley Institute, co-chair of the Housing Network of
Ontario. "But there are plenty of housing problems: Homeless shelters, where
they exist, are crowded; lower-income households are jammed into homes that
are too small; line-ups at food banks are growing longer as more household
income goes to rising housing costs and less is available for other
necessities."
    The Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, a member of the Housing
Network of Ontario, reports that social housing wait-lists across Ontario have
grown to almost 130,000 households. Families in Peel Region have to wait
almost 21 years to access affordable housing. The report is available at:
www.onpha.on.ca
    "These issues have been discussed for years, and study after study has
just been put on the shelf to gather dust. Tenants need this consultation to
result in real action by the government," says Robert Handy, a tenant activist
living in Brampton. "We need changes to ensure that tenants have timely access
to fairness and justice at the landlord and tenant board. Landlords can't be
allowed to repeatedly dodge their obligations to keep rental housing properly
maintained."
    1 in 5 tenant households in Ontario pay more than 50% of their income on
rent, placing them in danger of becoming homeless. The median income of
Ontario's renter households is less than half of homeowners. There are over
1.3 million tenant households in Ontario.
    Local advocates will be joined by Yutaka Dirks, of the Advocacy Centre
for Tenants Ontario and co-chair of the Housing Network of Ontario, who says,
"The government needs to listen to low-income Ontarians to develop a long-term
plan that builds new affordable units, offers tenants increased legal
protections, provides supports to help people maintain their housing and which
addresses the gap between tenant incomes and rising rents. But there are
actions that should be taken right away to help alleviate housing insecurity
for the people of Peel Region."
    The Housing Network of Ontario (HNO) is a network of advocacy
organizations and individuals with lived experience of housing insecurity who
support an integrated and fully-funded affordable housing strategy. To date,
the HNO Declaration has been endorsed by over 275 organizations and
individuals. The Declaration is available online at:
www.stableandaffordable.com/content/our-declaration





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews with Peel Region
tenants: Yutaka Dirks, (416) 597-5855 xt.5243; Michael Shapcott, Tel: (416)
972-1010 ext 231

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Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario

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