Ontario is launching consultations for a renewed Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy to support the province’s goals of improving outcomes for people and ending homelessness. The Consultation Discussion Guide outlines the progress of the current strategy, future goals and areas where more input from partners is needed. Participants can submit their views to the government online, by telephone or in writing by July 3, 2015.
News of these consultations is encouraging as recent reports indicate that the demand for affordable housing continues to dramatically outpace available supply. According to the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association’s (ONPHA) 2014 report, the province needs 68 per cent more social housing units. This is the minimum increase that would be required to house all of the Ontario households currently waiting for rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing units. According to ONPHA, the largest single group of households waiting for affordable housing is in the GTA with approximately 110,000 households on waiting lists.
In Toronto alone, nearly 9,000 people with mental health issues are on the wait list for supportive housing, with a wait time of 5 years. Out of 4000 eligible applicants for supportive housing only 349 were housed between October 2013 and September 2014. The Mental Health Commission of Canada report that a range of 17,400 (low) to 45,800 (high) of people are homeless and have a mental illness.
One of the priorities of Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, which was announced last year, is to end homelessness by making investments in homelessness prevention, expanding access to supportive housing, and investing in more affordable housing.
For more information on these consultations, read the official release.