The Hamilton Spectator: From one election to the next, Hamilton’s housing crisis in focus
Posted September 22, 2022
In some ways, Darlene Wesley’s life as a tenant in northeast Hamilton resembles a time capsule.
Her rent of $720 a month is less than half of what local one-bedroom units go for nowadays.
During Wesley’s nearly 20 years in the two-storey Strathearne Avenue walk-up, annual provincial caps have kept rent hikes within her means.
But now the 65-year-old pensioner faces the unnerving spectre of trying to find another place to live in Hamilton’s skyrocketing rental market.
After an unsuccessful appeal to the provincial rental dispute tribunal, Wesley has been told to leave by the end of January so her landlord can undertake renovations.
“I’m going to have to put my stuff in storage,” she says through sobs. “And then I don’t know what I’ll do.”
With average rent for a one-bedroom hovering at $1,700, it’s likely all of Wesley’s monthly income will be eaten up by much of what she can find in the private market.
It’s an untenable scenario that mirrors the plight of many other renters in Hamilton amid a wide-reaching housing-affordability crisis.
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