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Provincial Elections Issue: Housing and Homeless Prevention


Issue

  • London is facing a housing crisis due to rising prices, low vacancy rates, and aging infrastructure.

Background
Housing Affordability

  • London lies just outside of the “Greater Golden Horseshoe” (GGH) region which has been targeted by provincial legislation aiming to cool the housing market.
  • Detached home prices in London increased by over 17% from December 2016 to December 2017, compared to just 0.7% in Toronto.
  • London has a critically low vacancy rate, at 1.8% overall in 2017, and many of the units that are available are priced well above market rent.

Homeless Prevention

  • London’s Housing First approach contributed to reducing the number of individuals accessing emergency shelters by 18% between 2011 and 2016.
  • Indigenous peoples make up a heavily disproportionate number of Londoners experiencing homelessness. Almost 29% of enumeration respondents reported Indigenous heritage, compared with just over 2% of the general population.

Social and Affordable Housing

  • Right now in London, there are over 3,000 households on the waiting list for affordable housing, and countless others living in precarious, unsafe, or unaffordable housing.
  • The majority of housing stock the City inherited was built in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and many building systems are coming to the end of their lifecycle.
  • Although buildings are in fair condition today, in five years’ time there is a forecast $225M deficit for maintenance, repairs, and replacement of City-owned affordable housing properties alone.

Local Solutions

  • London’s Housing Development Corporation, incorporated in 2015, is a regional leader in advancing public-private partnerships to increase the supply of affordable housing.
  • For every $1 in public funding for housing, the Housing Development Corporation can leverage an additional $1 from the private sector.
  • London is demonstrating the power of community collaboration in combating homelessness, through programs like Street Level Women at Risk.
  • The Street Level Women at Risk program, which brings together resources from 25 community organizations, has found and maintained housing for 36 women involved with street-level sex work to date.
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