“Older apartment buildings offering relatively affordable rents would be prime candidates for demolition and redevelopment, potentially deepening the affordability crisis by displacing thousands of low-income Ontarians struggling to make ends meet,” says the submission.
“With no other affordable housing options, this change could result in immediate housing instability for thousands of renter households throughout Ontario. And with affordable housing options ever more out of reach for low-income families, broader social and systemic inequities—including poverty and discrimination—are re-enforced and magnified,” the submission adds.
They recommend the province take further steps to preserve and renew existing affordable rental stock so that low-income Ontarians can remain safely and securely housed, including:
Consult with municipalities to develop regulations that ensure municipalities can continue to require replacement rental housing and support tenants.
Preserve Ontario’s affordable rental housing stock by supporting mechanisms that enable community-based non-profit organizations to acquire and preserve existing affordable rental stock.
Work with municipalities, community agencies, residents and building owners to explore opportunities to leverage development capacity of existing rental housing sites, including those that have capacity for new housing and mixed-use development by supporting mixed-use intensification.
“When London grapples with a 6,000-family waitlist for affordable public housing, and when local apartment vacancies are virtually zero for people experiencing poverty, it’s especially important to preserve the rental housing we do have.”
“Housing affordability solutions require collaboration among all levels of government, the not-for-profit and corporate sectors, as well as meaningful consultation with persons with lived experience … We look forward to ongoing engagement and collaboration with the Province of Ontario to preserve and renew existing affordable rental stock so that all Ontarians are safely and securely housed,” the submission concludes.
As a non-partisan agency, United Way Elgin Middlesex works with all governments to address poverty, provide basic needs and work towards housing stability for all, noted president and CEO Kelly Ziegner.
“We’re advocates, connectors and funders – and every day, we see the impact housing unaffordability has on people who struggle the most,” Ziegner said.
“When London grapples with a 6,000-family waitlist for affordable public housing, and when local apartment vacancies are virtually zero for people experiencing poverty, it’s especially important to preserve the rental housing we do have,” Ziegner said.
“We’re asking the Premier to build safeguards into the More Homes Built Faster Act 2022 that keep existing affordable housing options today, while creating additional new affordable housing options for the future.”
The submission to the province notes that secure housing is a social determinant of individual and population health, while preventing additional strain on other systems including health care and the economy. “There is economic value in keeping people housed – we know that for every $10 invested in housing and related housing supports there is a cost savings of up to $20 within healthcare, justice, shelter and social assistance,” the submission notes.
“The government’s demonstrated support for working class, low-income residents during the pandemic would be significantly undermined by legislation that removes those fundamental protections Ontarians will depend on in the current economic challenges,” it concludes.