Housing is unaffordable everywhere in Ontario. When rent is too high, people are forced to choose between paying rent and buying groceries.
The National Housing Strategy is a plan between the federal and provincial governments to create more affordable housing. Unfortunately, this plan will not do enough to meet Ontario’s growing need. By the end of the plan in 2027, the percentage of Ontario households in core housing need will remain the same.
Right now, Ontario only spends 0.3% of its budget on housing programs, and will be spending $160 million/year less over the next few years.
Tell Your MPP: Close the housing gap! Commit to creating more affordable housing so people don’t have to choose between paying for food and paying rent.
The “housing gap” is the gap between the number of Ontarians in need of housing relief and the current plans to create more affordable housing in Ontario over the next six years.
In short, the need for more affordable housing far exceeds the investments being made by the province.
- As of 2018, almost 14% of Ontarians (735,000 households) were in core housing need.
- The National Housing Strategy (2017-2027) is a joint effort between the federal and provincial governments intended to increase the availability of affordable housing, with a spending commitment of $4 billion over 10 years in Ontario.
- Despite these investments, it is projected that by 2027, 14% of Ontarians (815,517 households) will still be in core housing need.
It is clear that more action needs to be taken and more investments needs to be made in order to move the needle on affordable housing.
A lack of affordable housing is a major driver of food bank use in Ontario: A September 2020 survey of food bank clients found that nearly half of respondents were worried about being evicted or defaulting on their mortgage, and 1 in 5 skipped a meal in order to pay for rent.
It is an issue in both rural and urban communities: A 1-bedroom apartment is only affordable in 2 out of 100 towns and cities in Ontario. There are social housing waitlists everywhere in Ontario.
The housing crisis fuels our homelessness crisis: The average length of stay in shelters is increasing, in large part due to a lack of availability of affordable housing.
Ensuring that everyone has access to affordable housing benefits everyone: Poverty is estimated to cost Ontario up to $33 billion a year due to a loss of tax revenue and increased health and justice system expenses.
Feed Ontario believes that there are a number of ways that the Government of Ontario can help increase affordable housing. Two of these ways are:
- Increase investments in housing programs: Since 2014, the Government of Ontario has invested only 0.3% of its budget on housing programs. . At the same time, food banks have seen annual increases in the number of people accessing their services because their housing costs occupy the majority, if not all, of their monthly budget. Investments in affordable housing are essential to reducing poverty and food insecurity in our province.
- Improve legislation: The provincial government has many legislative tools at its disposal that can be used to increase access to affordable housing, including expanding the scope of inclusionary zoning, closing rent control loopholes, and improving access to the Landlord-Tenant Board. Ensuring that affordable housing investments are protected by good public policy is essential to increasing access and sustaining affordable housing in the province.
Feed Ontario and its network of food banks recommend that the Government of Ontario:
- Invest in the creation and repair of significantly more social and supportive housing units
- Strengthen laws to protect tenants and create more affordable housing
- Expand the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit
- Provide rent relief to low-income tenants facing eviction during the pandemic
Writing a letter to your MPP is a great opportunity to make your voice heard as a voter in their riding, and show that more affordable housing is important to you. MPPs can be great advocates for the concerns of their constituents, but need to hear from YOU to do so.
How to Participate:
- Fill in your name, email address, and postal code: The tool will automatically find your MPP and their contact information based on your postal code, and will fill in your information in the template email.
- Write your email: Customize the email with your own reasons as to why Ontario needs more affordable housing and how it would impact your household or people you know. We have provided a sample email below with talking points you can choose from.
- Click “Add Your Voice”: The tool will send your email to your MPP.
- Let us know how it goes: If you receive a response from your MPP, please let us know by forwarding it to Ashley (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Here is the basic structure of an email to an MPP and some talking points you can use about housing and this campaign.
Dear [MPP name], (This will be filled out for you by our tool below)
My name is [Your Name] and I am a voter in [Your Riding]. I am writing to you today about the lack of affordable housing options in our riding and across the province, and asking you to commit to closing the housing gap in Ontario!
[Paragraph 1: Background information on the housing gap]
- Talk about how housing is unaffordable everywhere in Ontario, and include some facts about rent prices or social housing waitlists that are specific to your riding/city
- Explain that when rent is too high, it has negative impacts, such as having to choose between paying rent and buying groceries
- Explain that the National Housing Strategy won’t do enough to meet the growing need for affordable housing in Ontario and include some facts
[Paragraph 2: How you feel and how the housing crisis affects you and/or your neighbours]
- Personal stories are great here!
[Paragraph 3: Ask your MPP to commit to closing the housing gap]
- We are asking MPPs to commit to closing the housing gap through four measures: investing in the creation and repair of significantly more social and supportive housing units, strengthening laws to protect tenants and create more affordable housing, expanding the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit, providing rent relief to low-income tenants during the pandemic
- You can download a graphic to show your support on social media at https://feedontario.ca/housing-gap
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns, and I look forward to receiving a response from you!
[Your name, location] (This will be filled out for you by the tool below)
Share our postcard graphic on social media!
- Tag us (@FeedOntario on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn)
- Tag your MPP and ask them to show their support for affordable housing
- Link back to this page (feedontario.ca/housing-gap)
Are you a sitting MPP (or a nominated provincial party candidate for the 2022 Ontario Elections) who supports Ontario creating more affordable housing options?
- Download the below image and post it on your social media pages
- Tag us (@FeedOntario on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn) so we can share your support
- Link back to this page (feedontario.ca/housing-gap)
 A household is considered to be in core housing need if a) its housing is unacceptable (does not meet one or more of the adequacy, suitability or affordability standards), and b) acceptable alternative housing in the community would cost 30% or more of its before-tax income.
 This lack of movement is for many reasons:
- Much of the funding is going towards maintaining existing social housing units
- While an additional 55,300 households will be helped, only about half of them will actually escape core housing need
- Population growth and higher housing costs are expected to more than offset the new supports and increases in income
 Ontario will be spending $160 million less per year on its housing programs (including federal funding) over the next few years. Even if we were to only maintain our existing investments in affordable housing, the province would need to add an extra $1.2 billion over 8 years. In addition, the province contributes the least funding to housing programs at 15% of costs, while the federal government covers 29% and municipalities put in 55% (though they only collect 12 cents of every tax dollar).
 Based on CMHC average market rent, 2019, for a full-time minimum wage worker