Housing affordability an important issue to GTA voters

Construction volunteers on a Habitat build site.

At Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga, so much of what we do is dependent on collaboration with our partners in government. Politicians at all levels of government play a crucial role in our success, whether it’s through helping us find land to build on or waiving development charges to make it easier for us to start construction. As the municipal elections draw closer, we are encouraged to see both candidates discussing the need for affordable housing in our communities, and voters identifying housing costs as a key election issue.

Housing was one of the top three election issues for 40 per cent of respondents in the GTA in a recent poll from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). In fact, 68 per cent of respondents said that high housing costs have directly impacted them by affecting their ability to save for retirement, afford a major purchase or vacation, buy a home, make upgrades to their home or save for their child’s education.

“It is important that housing affordability is part of every municipal candidate’s platform,” said BILD president and CEO Dave Wilkes, in a news release.

We couldn’t agree more. Although some people don’t always think affordable housing is necessary in the GTA, these statistics show that a need clearly exists. Through the work we do at Habitat, we build new affordable housing units for local individuals and families. We also work to increase the stock of existing adequate housing through our Handyman program. We have placed over 40 families in affordable, safe and decent homes in the GTA, and we have plans to scale up our operations to better serve the growing population of GTA residents in need of affordable housing.

There are several challenges we face in our mission, including finding land at a reasonable price with the correct zoning requirements to build on. This is one area that local governments are able to play a large role in assisting with. We hope that politicians continue to collaborate with nonprofit housing providers like Habitat, and that voters continue to take into account the crucial role that their elected officials have in contributing to solutions on this pressing issue.

Although it can be disheartening to think of the sheer number of GTA residents impacted by the housing affordability crisis, we remain hopeful that by collaborating with advocates in governments we can continue providing tangible solutions for local residents. Follow this link to find out more about what Habitat is doing in your community.

By: Sherina Harris