‘Canada’s Rental Housing Crisis’
For people on low incomes, Canada’s rental housing market is in crisis. Rents have been escalating in many cities because of the lack of rental housing and the high rent increases being demanded by many property owners. As well, the high number of Airbnb units has greatly reduced the number of units available, and the cost of starter homes has skyrocketed. As an example, in the city of Edmonton, over 22,000 people pay more than 50% of their monthly income on rent.
The federal government cancelled its National Housing policy 25 years ago, and this change left individuals on low incomes to compete for fewer rental buildings over the past 25 years. See http://www.cwp-csp.ca/2014/01/20-years-ago-canada-had-a-housing-plan/
In addition, many provincial governments have cut back on support for families, such as the Ontario government’s recent cuts to the ‘Transition Child Benefit’ that impacts 16,000 children each month. Our provincial government is using this cost cutting to fund its new ‘Buck-a-beer’ and ‘Beer Store’ programs. It is ignoring the considerable needs of the over 950,000 individuals on social assistance in Ontario.
In June 2017, all Federal parties supported a bill in Parliament to increase Canadian military spending by 70%. See Defense Policy Report: ‘Strong, Secure and Engaged’
And on July 23, 2019, the Canadian government launched a multimillion dollar bidding process for 88 new fighter jets at an estimated cost of $100 million each. (Source: National Post)
The increase in military funding directly affects the monies available for humanitarian needs. We all have to remind ourselves that we have choices and that we need to make our priorities known to political candidates in the upcoming Federal election.
As Canadians, we need to show that we care for one another, and we need action now. A basic premise underlying our call for a shift in Priorities is that greatly increased funding is needed to provide rental housing for the most vulnerable in our communities. We have endless research on the need for affordable housing and on strategies for creating housing. We need more Federal dollars to create this rental housing!
Redirecting $100 billion from military spending over 20 years is a good comparison of the additional funding that is required to address the housing crisis being experienced by thousands of people on low incomes.
Existing funding plans come nowhere near achieving this goal. We are calling for an additional $5 billion per year to create 25,000 more low-rental units each year. Over 20 years, this would mean $100 Billion to create 500,000 housing units with deep subsidies across Canada.
Explanation of Housing Numbers and Costs:
The principle of ‘Housing First’ has been recognized as an important first step towards addressing a number of social challenges faced by people living in vulnerable circumstances. The goal is to create safe, affordable places to live.
In Toronto alone, there are 100,000 individuals on the waiting list for subsidized units with Toronto Housing Corp. If we call for 25,000 units per year for all of Canada, then the goal for Toronto could be the creation of 7,000 units per annum.
The average capital cost in Canada for creating a subsidized unit is estimated to be $200,000 based on a number of factors; such as, the levels of rent paid by those on social assistance and the ‘working poor’; the varying construction costs in different parts of the country; and the use of new innovative ways of creating housing. We also need to call on developers who have benefited from high real estate prices and high rents to contribute towards creating new affordable rental housing.
See: Priorities & Choices – www.prioritiesandchoices.org