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Posted by on Apr 2014 in Advocacy, All Stories | 0 comments

A new one per cent solution for affordable housing

We spend our days analyzing, discussing and problemsolving Ontario’s current affordable housing system. With such a focus, it’s easy to get wrapped up in “what is” and to forget to ask “what could be?” Last summer, we took a step back and challenged ourselves to reimagine the affordable housing system in Ontario. We asked ourselves the following question – how should government address the most pressing housing challenges in Ontario?

Our analysis reveals that an investment of $13 billion could solve Ontario’s affordable housing crisis.

We started by defining Ontario’s biggest housing challenges. With the help of SHS Consulting, we identified three big challenges facing Ontarians and the affordable housing sector:

  1. the persistent lack of housing that is affordable and in good repair (Persistent Core Housing Need)
  2. homelessness
  3. the capital repair backlog faced by the non-profit and co-operative housing sectors

Persistent Core Housing Need
In order for a household to be considered acceptably housed, it must live in a home that is in good repair, the right size, and affordable. If the household isn’t living in a home that meets these conditions and can’t afford to move into a home that does, it’s considered to be in Core Housing Need (CHN). If a household remains in CHN for three years, it’s described as being in Persistent Core Housing Need. We estimate that in 2013, more than 630,000 Ontario households were in CHN.

Homelessness
Ontario is a prosperous province with a vibrant economy. Nevertheless, many Ontario households are homeless. The terrible impacts of homelessness on those who experience it and on our economy and public services cannot be overstated. It is estimated that there are 10,000 homeless people in Ontario.

The capital repair backlog
Ontario’s social housing is vital public infrastructure that supports access to acceptable housing. And, it is home to roughly five per cent of the province’s population. Across Ontario, as the social housing stock continues to age, greater ongoing financial investments will be required to keep the stock in a good state of repair. Failing to make such an investment risks the loss of valuable public infrastructure and may, in extreme cases, jeopardize tenants’ health, safety or wellbeing or render units uninhabitable while demand for affordable housing continues to grow.

A one per cent solution
Our analysis reveals that an investment of $13 billion could solve Ontario’s affordable housing crisis. Annual investments of $1.3 billon over 10 years would amount to approximately one per cent of the Province’s current annual budget. We believe that achieving this level of investment
would require action from all levels of government.

Annual investments of $1.3 billon over 10 years would amount to approximately one per cent of the Province’s current annual budget.

To solve the crisis,

  • 142,000 households would receive ongoing housing benefits.
  • 27,000 new rental housing units that are geared to the tenant’s income would be created.
  • 6,000 households would receive homeownership assistance.
  • 4,000 rental units would receive rental rehabilitation assistance.
  • 4,000 ownership units would receive rehabilitation assistance.
  • A new framework for social housing capital investment would be created.

While this is an ambitious investment plan, we do not believe that it is unreasonable. The scale of Ontario’s housing challenges are great and they are the result of years of insufficient investment and neglect by governments at the provincial and federal levels. Solving our most pressing housing challenges will have enormous social and economic impacts for the province and Ontarians.

Learn more about our solution to Ontario’s affordable housing crisis by downloading our report at www.onpha.on.ca or by attending one of our free Regional Meetings this spring.

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