SUDBURY, ON, Sept. 24 /CNW/ - The Housing Network of Ontario is working with Sudbury housing and homelessness advocates to ensure that the real solutions to the housing needs of low-income Ontarians are front and centre at tonight's provincial government housing consultation. MPP Mario Sergio, Parliamentary Assistant to Housing Minister Watson will be in attendance at St. Andrews Place, 111 Larch St., in Sudbury at 6:30pm. This is the 12th public consultation held by the government to develop a long term affordable housing strategy.
"Rental vacancy rates have dropped sharply over the past decade in Sudbury, and rents have been rising faster than the rate of inflation. Few new affordable homes have been built. All the numbers point to a severe affordable housing crisis," says Michael Shapcott, Director of Affordable Housing and Social Innovation at the Wellesley Institute and co-chair of the Housing Network of Ontario. "The provincial housing consultation is an important chance for the people of Sudbury to lay out their housing challenges, and to set out the practical solutions that will make a difference."
The median income of Sudbury renter households is less than half of homeowners. 40% of all tenants in Sudbury spend over 30% of their income on rent, while 16% pay more than half of their income on rent, placing them in danger of becoming homeless. Between 2003-2007, rental units accounted for only one percent of all housing produced. Vacancy rates in Sudbury are low at 2% in spring 2009. Rents in Sudbury have risen by up to 19% between 2002-2007, almost doubling the rate of inflation rate. There are 2,154 households on the active waitlist for social housing.
"The government must listen to low-income Ontarians and introduce a plan that works to ensure that everyone in Ontario can live poverty-free in housing that is affordable, whether they live in larger cities, or in rural communities," says Yutaka Dirks, of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario and co-chair of the Housing Network of Ontario. "People living in the north have unique housing needs, and certain groups such as Aboriginal and racialized communities, people with disabilities and others face higher rates of poverty-induced housing insecurity. The province's long-term housing strategy has to provide solutions directed to improving the housing situation of all of these groups and communities."
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 Housing Network of Ontario Declaration has been endorsed by over 400 organizations and individuals. The Declaration is available online at: www.stableandaffordable.com/content/our-declaration.
SOURCE HOUSING NETWORK OF ONTARIO
For further information: For further information: Michael Shapcott, (416) 972-1010 ext 231