TORONTO—Despite promises to do more, the Ontario government is spending less than half of what it spent on affordable housing in 2000, says an Ontario Alternative Budget study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Almost 600,000 Ontario households—1.7 million women, men, and children, or 15% of all Ontarians—are in core housing need, but the study’s author, Michael Shapcott, says the government spends only 14 cents per person a day on affordable housing.
“That falls far short of the new homes and rent supplements the Liberals promised in 2003,” says Shapcott. “The McGuinty Liberals promised to fund 26,640 new supportive and affordable homes but as of October 2006 only 2,116 had been built, and another 2,161 are under construction They also promised to fund 35,000 rent supplements, but only 6,670 have been delivered as of September 2006.”
Meanwhile, the Ontario government refuses to accept almost $400 million for housing from the federal government until broader fiscal negotiations are completed.
“Poorly-housed Ontarians are being held hostage as federal and provincial politicians squabble,” says Shapcott.
Most of Ontario’s low- and moderate-income—and many middle-income—households live in private rental units where rent is rising out of reach. Between 1992 and 2004, average market rent rose 31% while the median renter household income fell 12%.
“The income-rent squeeze has forced more households into line-ups at food banks, caused more families to double or triple-up in small apartments, and has led to a big increase in evictions,” Shapcott says.
“In 2005, an all-time record of 64,864 tenant households faced eviction in Ontario because they couldn’t pay their rent. That’s an average of 260 households every working day.”
Fourteen cents a day won’t build many homes is available on the CCPA web site at http://www.policyalternatives.ca
For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.