Housing is a critical issue for many communities in Ontario, and London is no different. On July 1, 2018 Londoners received the notice that the London Housing Registry was closing its doors after 34 years. And as the result of our new provincial government’s decision to cancel the cap and trade program, effective July 3, 2018, the Ministry of Housing and Housing Services Corporation (HSC) has confirmed the cancellation of both the Social Housing Apartment Improvement Program (SHAIP) and the GreenON Social Housing Program. This will impact the City of London a great deal.
But what does this actually mean and how will affect Londoners?
For example, Lisa is a single mother who works full time at minimum wage ($14.00/hr). She brings home approximately $1,873.00 monthly. To make housing affordable for her family (so that she can also afford groceries, utilities, medications, clothes, insurance payments, etc.) her rent or mortgage payments should not exceed 30% of her take home pay. Housing in this case should be no more than $561.90 per month.
A single person living on Ontario Works brings home $721 per month, and of that, only $384 is meant for shelter costs. Meanwhile a single person living on Ontario Disability Support Program brings home $1,151 per month, and of that, only $489 is meant for shelter costs.
Currently in London, according to Rentboard.ca, the average one bedroom apartment goes for $949.00. Even the working poor are unable to afford the average price of housing currently. London is a wonderful city and we should be able to grow our community; give people a sense of hope, and a chance to actually pay rent, utilities, buy food, clothes and hygiene products; we can do this through affordable housing. When you are faced with the struggle of paying rent, or buying food, or purchasing the bus pass that will take you to work; on a continual basis, this contributes to extreme stress, lowered health, depression, domestic violence, theft, and substance use. Some folks are quite resilient and make it through these tough times; however, the results of continual poverty and struggle, takes its toll on our neighbours, friends, family, healthcare system, police services, insurance rates and community organizations. It can also diminish the feeling of safety within our communities. In the end, we all pay for poverty.
This has to be one of the top priorities for City Hall. It is our responsibility as a community to come up with practical solutions that will better the lives for all Londoners.