Affordable housing has many forms and even more definitions, and trying to land on one could fill this page. With that in mind, we’re comfortable if you think about it as safe, secure and adequate housing whose cost allows a lower or middle-income household to meet basic needs like food and clothing.
Unfortunately, thousands of Ontarians are waiting for it, living in places without enough room and in dire need of repair. Because their rents are so high in relation to their income, they’re making impossible trade-offs between paying rent and buying food. And the longer they wait, the harder it is on their health, their long-term career prospects, their children’s education and our province’s future.
Waiting lists have been growing every year since 2006. For every household that finally moves into affordable housing, three new applications are received.
But waiting lists don’t list everyone in need
They only show people who’ve stayed on the list. Thousands more people need affordable housing but aren’t listed. They are people struggling to make ends meet while paying un-affordable rents, people couch-surfing or living with friends and family, and people discouraged from signing up by the long wait times.
If Ontario wants to get its house in order, it needs to get its housing in order. Getting affordable housing right will pay enormous long-term dividends for our province, dramatically improving our economy and workforce, our healthcare system, our students’ success and much more.
Better students and schools. With stable, affordable housing, students are able to focus on their education. They move less and their relationships and classrooms see fewer disruptions. Parents have more income for school’s necessities, from healthy lunches to extracurricular programs.
More graduates. Being properly housed reduces stress and anxiety and allows for enough personal space to study effectively and succeed. source
More skilled workers. More students completing high school and furthering their educations means more skilled workers and fewer people living in poverty.
Healthier Ontarians. Safe, clean and reliable housing helps people avoid the numerous health risks - from anxiety to poor nutrition - associated with low incomes and poor living conditions.
Lower healthcare costs. People without an affordable home are five times more likely to be hospitalized than the general public. With housing, they’d be physically and mentally healthier for longer, decreasing the burden on resources like mental health services and emergency rooms.
Security for seniors. Affordable housing helps seniors squeezed by high rents and fixed incomes live independently, and have enough money to live quality lives.
More jobs, investment and growth. Affordable housing creates thousands of jobs in construction and renovation, and creates a steady flow of work in the upkeep of existing buildings.
Stronger local economies. Affordable rents free up income for people to spend in their communities.
Higher worker productivity. Travel times and stress levels go down when workers can afford to live close to their jobs, increasing productivity and lowering absenteeism. source
More savings. It costs almost half as much to house someone than it does to leave them on the streets.
Greater safety and security. For people fleeing persecution abroad or abuse at home, affordable housing is a safe place to heal and rebuild.
A better start for new Ontarians. The sooner a newcomer to our province finds affordable housing, the better their chances of settling in, finding employment and contributing to our economy.
Diverse and fair communities. Affordable housing is a key part of neighbourhoods and communities where everyone can live, work and play.
Housing Opens Doors is a multi-year campaign to make affordable housing a priority for Ontario. Led by the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA), the campaign has many supporters, including housing providers and tenants, organizations serving the public good, corporate sponsors and concerned people like you.
For far too long, affordable housing has been at the bottom of our provincial to-do list. It’s been seen as a cost, not an investment, a sinkhole rather than a well of untapped potential. As a result, the waiting list for affordable housing has been growing year after year. As of 2012, it’s reached 156,358 households.
We’re here to change that, by telling a new story about affordable housing. A story about solutions, not problems. Investments, not costs. The core of our story is this: whenever a household opens the door to an affordable home, the ripple can be felt across Ontario, in everything from thriving families to a stronger economy.
So, we’ve set an ambitious goal: 156,358 rings of support, one for every Ontario household still waiting for an affordable home. To get there, we need you to do something you’ve done a thousand times before, but never with more importance: Ring the doorbell.
Our invaluable sponsors have shown their commitment to affordable housing by stepping up with financial support for the campaign.
Our partners from many varied sectors have lent their endorsement to the campaign, proving that affordable housing really does touch everything.
Affordable Housing Committee (City of Toronto) • Belleville & Quinte West Community Health Centre • Canadian Housing & Renewal Association • Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario • Centre for Addiction and Mental Health - CAMH • Centre for Research on Inner City Health • Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario • Children’s Mental Health Ontario • Cité collégiale • Community Development Council of Quinte • Community Development Halton • Community Foundations of Canada • Daily Bread Food Bank • Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario • Federation of Rental-Housing Providers of Ontario • Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance • Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Ontario • Haliburton County Non-Profit Places for People Corporation • Hôpital Montfort / Montfort Hospital • Le Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale nationale • Miziwe Biik Development Corporation • Montfort Renaissance • Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services • Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies • Ontario Campaign 2000 • Ontario HIV Treatment Network • Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario • Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries • Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo • Social Planning Network of Ontario • Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Toronto and Ontario Regional Councils • The Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition • Université Saint-Paul / Saint Paul University
For general inquiries, media inquiries, or if your organization or community is interested in getting involved in the campaign, get in touch at the contact info below.
Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
489 College Street, Suite 400
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Telephone in Toronto: (416) 927-9144
Fax: (416) 927-8401
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Copyright 2013, Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association