Ontario's wait lists for social housing gettting longer

    Concern over Ontario's social housing waiting list grows as recession

    TORONTO, June 15 /CNW/ - Nearly 130,000 households are currently on the
waiting list for social housing in Ontario and that number could grow as the
economy worsens, according to a report released by the Ontario Non-Profit
Housing Association (ONPHA).
    The ONPHA 2009 Report on Waiting List Statistics for Ontario shows that
the number of households seeking social housing in the province grew from
124,032 to 129,253 between January 2008 and 2009 - a four percent increase in
just one year.
    "The number of low income seniors, families and singles seeking social
housing continues to increase," said Sharad Kerur, ONPHA's Executive Director.
"There simply is not enough community-based affordable housing being built to
meet the massive need."
    In fact, the actual number of people in need of affordable housing is
likely much higher than waiting list statistics suggest since many households,
discouraged by lengthy waiting times, walk away without filling in an
    "You can spend years on the list waiting to be housed," said Hugh Lawson,
President of ONPHA. "In Peterborough, seniors may have to wait up to seven
years and in Peel Region, families can wait over 20 years. Applicants need
help now."
    The urgent need for more affordable rental housing was highlighted in
another report released earlier this year by ONPHA and CHF Canada Ontario
Region. Where's Home?(2008) showed that 1-in-5 Ontario tenant households were
spending more than 50% of their income on rent, putting them at significant
risk of losing their housing and crowding out other expenditures.
    "With a long and potentially slow economic recovery ahead, the need for
community-based affordable housing will only continue to grow," said Sharad
Kerur. "It is fortunate that the government is undertaking development of a
long-term affordable housing strategy to specifically include a mix of
non-profit and co-op housing."
    "Recent budgetary investments made by the Federal Government and the
Province will help build and repair social housing, but a lot of hard work
remains if Ontario is going to tackle the affordable housing crisis" said Hugh
Lawson. "We hope that the Province's long-term affordable housing strategy
will provide Ontario with a workable and adequately funded housing plan that
will help lift households out of poverty."
    For over 20 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 or mental
illness and the homeless/hard-to-house.
    A copy of the report and more information about ONPHA and non-profit
housing can be found at: www.onpha.on.ca

For further information:

For further information: Sharad Kerur, Executive Director, Ontario
Non-Profit Housing Association, Tel: (416) 927-9144 ext. 102, (Cell): (416)
723-2835, Email: sharad.kerur@onpha.org

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Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA)

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