More progress needed to help households in housing need
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 community
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 Ontario to find safe, affordable rental housing
options that are appropriate for their families. This daily reality is
highlighted by data that indicates overall vacancy rates across the
province continue to tighten - dropping to 2.9% between 2009 and 2010.
"Vacancy rates are tightening up and rental demand is expanding," says
Sharad Kerur, ONPHA's Executive Director. "An aging population,
increased levels of immigration and future economic conditions will all
play a role in determining rental housing needs in the years ahead -
and it will be up to local communities and senior governments to help
meet those needs."
"This year's findings clearly demonstrate that the gap between
homeowners and tenants' incomes is growing ever wider and many
Ontarians of low and modest means are struggling to find a home that
they can afford," said Harvey Cooper, Manager of Government Relations
at CHF Canada Ontario Region. "I worry about families being forced to
choose between paying for the necessities of life, putting food on the
table and paying the rent."
In addition to inadequate supply, high energy costs are compounding
affordability problems for low and moderate income renter households -
making it even harder for them to make ends meet.
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. 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 at 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