Ontario’s affordable housing crisis is growing worse, especially in the private rented sector where most low and moderate-income households are required to find a home. Tens of thousands of very-low income renter households cannot afford private market rents and have been squeezed out of the traditional private rented sector, and relegated to substandard, secondary rental housing. Those are among the conclusions of the latest edition of Where’s Home – a comprehensive review of affordable housing in Ontario.
The Where’s Home housing series started in 1999 and provides a statistical overview of housing issues in Ontario and among about 30 communities across the province.
The 2013 edition notes that while there has been “extraordinary growth” in the province’s ownership market, which provides housing for more than two-thirds of provincial households, federal regulatory changes designed to stabilize the mortgage market have led to a “tapering off” starting in 2012.
Neither the federal nor the provincial government has a rental housing strategy, even though federal numbers estimate that the province’s rental market will grow by up to 20,000 households annually. Federal and provincial affordable housing programs are generating about 1,500 new homes annually, but these numbers are more than offset by a loss of 86,000 rental homes in the five years up to 2006.
The bottom line: Ontario’s housing crisis is centred in the rented and affordable sectors where supply is falling short of growing need, and rents are outpacing relatively stagnant household incomes.
The Wellesley Institute’s Precarious Housing in Canada provides a detailed overview of national and provincial trends in housing.