GTA cities Brampton, Caledon and, Mississauga are struggling with housing affordability

Like many GTA cities Brampton, Caledon and, Mississauga are struggling with housing affordability.

According to CMHC data, Mississauga has the highest number and percentage of households in core housing needs. This means that homes and units are not affordable, overcrowded, or in dire need of major repairs.

The CMHC data revealed that 17.7% of Mississauga households lived in housing that was not affordable, required significant repairs, or was too crowded in 2016.

In 2016, 16.7 percent of Brampton households lived in core housing needs. This means that approximately 28,000 families live in housing that is not affordable, too crowded, or in dire need of substantial repairs.

More than 1,900 households in Caledon, which is nine percent, were in core housing needs. The majority of those who are not able to afford it, however, were over 1,900.

According to 2020 data from the Region, approximately 15,000 households are looking for subsidized housing. Most of these households make less than $20,000 per year.

Peel’s long waiting list means that families who are eligible for housing subsidies in Peel will have to wait between five and twelve years, depending on where they live and how many bedrooms. According to the Region, families who are seeking subsidies for three- to five-bedroom homes in Brampton may face the longest waits, and they could be waiting between 10 to 12 years.

While in Caledon, a Single-person household searching for subsidized housing will have the shortest wait times, and they are expected to wait between 1.5 and 5.5 years.

But, Amid all of the pre-election craziness, there was a comment made by our elected officials last month that gave me pause.

Peel Regional Council’s comments on their priorities for the federal government in September made it seem (well, as surprising can be in a news release) that the Region doesn’t have the financial resources necessary to maintain and build the infrastructure needed to support Peel’s growth.

Maybe it’s just me, but that was an extraordinary admission that highlights the true cost of the past year. Residents are being increasingly squeezed between the margins while our elected officials grapple with impossible pressures and funding challenges continue to spiral out of control — this, despite the brave face they put towards the situation towards press outlets and the public in general.

Nowhere are these pressures more apparent than affordable housing concerns — note the Region of Peel’s Housing Master Plan, discussed during a Regional Council meeting held earlier this month.

In summary, the plan calls for approximately 2,240 “affordable” units to be built within the next seven years, with costs generally split between the Region, federal and/or provincial levels of government. Putting aside expected funding shortfalls aside, that number is a drop in the bucket and cold comfort to the many renters who have been waiting for years (sometimes, decades) for solutions.

We have tens of thousands of new residents who enter this Region yearly, and they need — and deserve — greater solutions than what amounts to a drop in the bucket for the Region’s housing waitlist. You need tens of thousands of units to solve the problem, not “affordable units” with vague definitions, units that are priced to be “affordable” that scale back up to standard market price within a few short years (if that long) or the bullet point that comes with marketing “affordable housing” as a feature, and not a core principle of the development.

Never mind the pithy federal announcements for a couple dozen here or there, which make for good copy but don’t apply to the Region in a meaningful way.

As amusing as it is seeing a particular hypocritical official trying to grab news headlines by begging for more funding from other levels of government, it will never be enough unless a sustained strategy is built out on a much grander scale and endorsed between all levels of government, partisan politics aside.

Our local non-profits and community groups have been sounding the alarm on this issue for years beforehand, but it has reached a critical inflection point.

Not to be missed — The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Peel will host a rally Saturday to highlight the challenges facing the Region’s housing system. They will also ask the Region to include all parts of the Region with inclusionary zoning laws.

It’s clear that this issue will be the biggest driver of change in the coming years — but only time will tell how successful these different and challenging solutions fare.

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora
[email protected]

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