Peel Weekly News: Diving into the state of housing affordability in Peel Region

Posted October 22, 2021

Have we finally turned a corner when it comes to housing affordability - or is it a bridge too far? The issue of affordability has played on my mind for some quite some time, as I have watched friends and colleagues spend outside their means to gain the smallest measure of a home that fits within their budget, sacrificing much in the process.

Those thoughts were reinforced last weekend, as a local community group, ACORN Peel (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) held a rally in Cooksville, arguing against the “gentrification” of the area and pushing for greater numbers of affordable units that can be offered to prospective buyers.

The list of problems associated with “affordable” housing - the long waittimes, the tiered “affordable” units that still raise the rent quickly enough to push out long-term owners, the focus on “investment” properties versus “liveable” properties - have been discussed ad nauseum, but what are the key statistics to remember when it comes to housing in Peel? Consider recent data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

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 a not-insignificant number of homes and units are not affordable, overcrowded, or in dire need of major repairs.

The CMHC data revealed that 17.7 per cent 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 (though some estimates place that wait time much higher).

According to the Region, families who are seeking subsidies for threeto five-bedroom homes in Brampton may face the longest waits, and they could be waiting between 10 to 12 years.

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.

There are no easy answers to the challenge represented by affordability in Peel.

While organizations like ACORN Peel and others have pushed for amended policies or tools that would see greater numbers of units classified as “affordable,” or otherwise placed within a price range that is more accessible to a greater number of potential purchasers, many challenges remain, including the influx of offshore investment in local properties over the past decade, lack of consistency for inclusionary zoning policies and the number of residents who move into Peel each year, which is far and beyond the current scope of our total pool of property developments and has had the region playingcatchup in a game where the bases are already loaded and we’re far behind the batting average.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this issue needs collaborative involvement from all three levels of government, and long-term strategies beyond partisan policies that only affect a select group of purchasers, to impact sustainable change for housing.

The message is clear - it’s time for action.

 

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Article by Alex Gregory for Peel Weekly News

 

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