Despite recent investments, 156,358 households left waiting for an affordable home
TORONTO, Aug. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - The number of households on social housing waiting lists across Ontario continues to grow, reaching a high of 156,358 at the end of 2011, according to a report released today by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA).
ONPHA's Waiting Lists Survey 2012 report shows that the number of households on waiting lists for affordable housing increased 2.9 per cent in 2011, slowing from the substantial increases of 9.4% in 2009 and 7.2% in 2010. However, the addition of 4,281 households last year highlights the ongoing need for affordable housing.
"Ontario still faces challenging economic times and many people live on incomes that can't keep pace with housing costs. These are among the key factors that drive the ever increased need for affordable housing," says Sharad Kerur, ONPHA's Executive Director. "While the demand is greatest in the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa, we are now also seeing increases in many rural and northern communities."
In 2011, single people and childless couples under age 65 formed the largest demographic for the first time, with 58,995 households on the wait list. This change is not surprising given that singles under 65 face the highest poverty rates in the province, with fewer options for affordable housing. The number of seniors waiting for housing has grown steadily since 2004, reaching 39,463 households at the end 2011. Despite a 1.5% decrease in the number of family households over the past year, the demand for family housing continues to be great, with 56,130 households with children still in need.
Close to 18,500 households moved off the wait list into rent-geared-to-income housing in 2011, providing them with a more stable foundation. In some municipalities, households were housed in new affordable developments built with federal-provincial funding, proving that a municipal commitment to affordable housing backed by federal and provincial dollars makes a difference.
However, the number of new applications outstripped the number of households housed by over 3 to 1, and more than twice as many households dropped off the lists as were housed in 2011. While some of the over 45,000 households whose applications were cancelled may have dropped off due to improved circumstances, with average wait times for people housed in 2011 ranging up to 10 years, it is likely that many simply gave up.
"Municipalities now have responsibility for delivering local affordable housing solutions, but they can't do it with their resources alone," says Sylvia Patterson, ONPHA's President. "We need a long-term commitment for adequate funding from senior levels of government to help meet the ongoing need in our communities."
A copy of the Waiting Lists Survey 2012 report can be found at www.onpha.on.ca.
For almost 25 years, ONPHA has been the voice of non-profit housing in Ontario. Our 760 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. ONPHA's 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:
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
Office: (416) 927-9144, ext. 102
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