Toronto’s affordable housing wait list set a new record in June of 2012 – hitting an all-time high of 85,578 households. The wait list, which measures the number of households (not individuals) who apply for affordable housing, has set a new record every month since the recession of 2008. The huge demand for a affordable homes underlines the serious equity, health and social concerns about plans by Toronto Community Housing Corporation for an unprecedented sell-off of 619 single family homes.
The City of Toronto has created a working group under Councillor Ana Bailao to review the plans for the massive sell-off of affordable housing. The Wellesley Institute has urged the working group to reject the sell-off plan and has set out a series of policy options to preserve and maintain the existing supply of affordable housing and add new units to meet the growing need. There are plans emerging from a coalition of housing providers for a community land trust to take on the ownership and management of the TCHC stand-alone portfolio. Non-profits are used in other municipalities – including New York City and Chicago – to manage scattered site housing.
In June of 2012, the total number of individuals on the wait list was 158,032. There were 1,777 new applications from households for affordable housing and only 271 households were housed from the list. The total number of households was up 25% from June of 2011.