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Toronto Vital Signs Report – Issue Two: Housing

Toronto Foundation has just released Vital Signs Report 2019: Growing Pains and Narrow Gains. This report provides a consolidated snapshot of the trends and issues affecting the quality of life in our city and each of the interconnected issue areas is critical to the wellbeing of Toronto and its residents.

Vital Signs examines ten issue areas. We are going to explore highlights of each of these sections. Issue Two is Housing:

Many international lists label Toronto as one of the best places to live, however, for many residents, it is becoming increasingly unaffordable to live here.

  • Housing prices are skyrocketing, with the purchase price of homes growing more than four times faster than income and rent growing more than two times faster than income.
  • New rental units are not being built anywhere near quick enough to keep pace with the city’s growth.
  • Almost all new rental housing units in the city for recent decades have been condos, with higher-than-average rent costs compared to traditional rental units, thereby contributing to the affordability crisis.
  • Only 10% of condos are being built with three or more bedrooms, while 39% of the population is living in households with three or more people, leaving more than a third of renting families in overcrowded conditions.
  • The social housing wait list continues to grow each year, while the supply of social housing has remained the same for decades. Other critical support, such as transitional housing to get people off the streets, also has massive wait lists.
  • Official homelessness counts show a 69% increase in sheltered homeless people in Toronto in just five years.

A CSI member doing crucial work to address this crisis is the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation. They work to advance housing security and human rights in housing for tenants, and to promote the human right to housing across Ontario. They defend housing rights and human rights by:

  • providing direct services to marginalized Ontarians;
  • educating individuals and communities; and,
  • advancing progressive and inclusive housing law and policy.

To strengthen their impact, they work in partnership with many groups across Ontario and have consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

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