Affordable housing is a central issue in Toronto and the city is attempting to help people on the overwhelmingly long waitlist.
Toronto mayor John Tory and city councillor Ana Bailão announced 550 new housing subsidies of $250 per month for families waiting on the affordable housing waiting list. These housing allowances are funded under the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) program that is hosted by the federal and provincial governments. The $250 monthly subsidy is meant to help families pay for the cost of their homes while they wait for more affordable housing.
The City of Toronto provides 4000 housing rental subsidies and this funding is directly linked to the rental unit. The new subsidies are not connected to the unit, which allows families more flexibility in moving if they so desire. There are 97,000 households and 176,000 people on the affordable housing waitlist. No new housing licenses have been given since 2012.
The $250 subsidy was given to 550 families with three or more children and who have been on the waitlist for 10 years or more. The subsidy is also targeting people who need wheelchair accessible units who have been on the waitlist for eight years or more. Currently, the median rent income in Toronto for a one bedroom in City Centre is $1524.26 per month, and outside of the city centre, it is $1139.42. For three bedrooms in the city, the cost is $2636.57, and $1807.29 outside of city centre.
Considering the length of the waitlist, I wonder whether 550 subsidies consisting of $250 per month is appropriate considering inflated rent rates in Toronto. People are in desperate need of housing, and sitting on the waitlist for over 10 years does not adequately meet the requirements for basic human care in Toronto. The state of affordable housing deserves immediate attention and should become a central focus for City Council.
The City of Toronto is beginning to take affordable housing seriously with more plans coming to the surface as of this week. Upon City Council approval next week, 294 new affordable rental homes will be built across the city. The Open Door program is also set to encourage developers to begin building affordable units. The city will host the Toronto Housing Summit on Sept.30, which will include stakeholders in affordable housing that will discuss input on the National Housing Strategy, a federal initiative for cities and organizations to submit proposals to find the best solution to housing in the country.
With hope, affordable housing will be a central focus at City Council next week and these projects can move forward in earnest.