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Let’s say you’re someone who has a decent job. You’re renting a modest apartment and saving to buy a house. But then — you have a car accident when you’re coming home from the supermarket one weekend. You need some time to recover. You can’t work anymore. Your savings dwindle quickly. After a couple of months, you can’t pay your rent anymore. You don’t have any family or friends to rely on, so you apply for affordable housing to help make ends meet.
Well, hopefully you can make some friends quickly, because you’re not likely to get help in the immediate future.
Especially for those in the GTA, wait times to even get access to subsidized housing will take years. The fact is, there hasn’t been enough investment in affordable housing over the past several years, as we discussed in our last article. Affordable housing for those who need help making ends meet isn’t profitable, and so to meet those needs, public investment in housing is sorely needed.
Nicole Abruscato, SHIP’s Central Intake Manager, explains how this lack of investment in housing has affected those in need. SHIP currently has 2150 persons waiting for housing on our waitlist, and some, especially those with the most complex needs, can take up to 12 years until a unit can become available to them. ‘The issue really is a lack of housing stock,’ Nicole emphasizes.
The fact that someone who can’t afford their rent will have to wait literally a decade to even have the chance to get subsidized housing speaks to the drastic under investment in housing over the past several decades.
A positive example to look to is Vienna, Austria. Policymakers there have decided to engage housing providers with adequate investments to ensure that Vienna remains one of the most livable cities in the world. Given that housing is usually the single greatest expense for a household, it makes sense that an aggressive policy of investing in affordable housing leads to prosperity!
You shouldn’t have to wait 10 years to get decent housing if you need help. Vienna is just one example of a city taking affordable housing seriously. There are many ways to solve the problem — but if we do nothing, then nothing’s going to get better. We need action on affordable housing investments now.