Posted on: April 5th, 2023. By: Michael Braithwaite, newmarkettoday.ca, Original Article.
As provincial and federal candidates put together recent budgets and made rounds this spring to find out what is top of mind for constituents, it is clear that affordability is front and centre for Canadians.
With the prices of groceries, gas, utilities, and housing skyrocketing with no end in sight, people are deeply concerned.
To afford housing in an ideal situation, where a maximum of 30 per cent of your household income is used toward housing, a household must make $100,000 a year to afford a one-bedroom apartment in the GTA, and $130,000 for a two bedroom.
However, the reality is a living wage of roughly $23/hour lands people with a salary of about $50,000 a year and, sadly, 15 per cent of Ontario residents receiving social assistance are provided between $7,000 to $12,000 annually.
Simply put, many people are finding housing FAR out of reach.
While it’s clear that income supports and housing benefits need to be addressed, the path forward also includes developing hundreds of thousands of new social housing units that are deeply affordable. A plan communities support and want to see more of, with a February 2023 poll by Mainstreet Research reporting that of the 1,701 adults surveyed in Toronto, 47 per cent voted too little housing was being built.
The bad news?
Although people support more housing being built, when asked if it should be built in their community 74 per cent said “No”.
This is called “NIMBY’, or “Not in my backyard”.
So why is it that people tend to understand the need for affordable housing and have empathy for people in need, but don’t want housing solutions in their communities? As recently demonstrated at a Town of Aurora public planning meeting discussing the Regional Municipality of York’s proposal for much needed new men’s emergency and transitional housing to be built in a wooded area on Yonge Street, it boils down to one thing.
Fear of elevated crime levels, fear that property values will go down, fear that new residents won’t fit into the neighbourhood, and fear that the character of the community will be lost. According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, these fears are not a reality.