In the spring, and then again in the fall, co-op members helped make affordable housing a key issue in the provincial and municipal elections.
We provided co-ops with brochures and posters, and assisted co-ops with organizing Meet the Candidates events. With our OPEN THE DOOR campaign, more than 1,000 emails went out to provincial candidates. Co-ops promoted voting. And members told candidates what their co-op homes mean to them.
We partnered with the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association to create social media campaigns, and to produce An Affordable Housing Plan for Ontario. The Plan garnered media attention across the province, and is a key document making the case for the development of more co-op and non-profit housing.
Below is a summary of the key issues for both the municipal and provincial governments:
The challenge for households that rent
Every day, rents continue to rise out of reach for many low- and middle-income households. Since 1992 rents have climbed 63%, and the average cost to buy a home in some parts of the province has more than tripled. But wages haven’t kept up.
With over 170,000 Ontarians on the affordable housing wait-lists; hundreds of thousands more in core housing need, we need action to move past the status-quo and make affordable housing a key priority again.
Ontario has built some affordable housing over the last 20 years, but not enough to meet the needs of the province.
Build new co-op homes
Both the Province and the municipalities need to build new affordable housing. Fortunately, they have willing and capable partners in the co-op and non-profit sectors. Municipalities have a toolbox of policies which can help get more affordable housing built. These include surplus lands, city funds and inclusionary zoning. Ontario also has surplus lands; prioritizing land for co-op and non-profit housing, and providing decent affordable housing programs will help ease the affordable housing crisis.
Ontario needs a renewed partnership between governments, non-profits and co-ops with the goal of tackling the housing crisis. We need all levels of government to be strong supporters of affordable housing, and to work with each other to prioritize affordable housing development.