Toronto unaffordable rent

New report says half of Toronto can barely afford to pay rent

If you rent a place in Toronto and make less than $24 an hour, you could be just one missed paycheque away from making some seriously tough choices about food and shelter.

As many as 46.9 per cent of households are in this exact position, according to a newly-released study from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario, and the numbers are only going up.

The study, called Where Will We Live? Ontario’s Affordable Rental Housing Crisis, reveals that nearly half of all renters in Ontario are dealing with "unaffordable housing costs."

What this means is that those renters are spending more than 30 per cent of their total income on rent, leaving less and less money for things like medicine and childcare — or far more hours are spent working to make ends meet.

In Toronto, where nearly half of all households are rented and the cost of living continues to skyrocket, that's a precarious place to be.

"A significant percentage of renters across Ontario and in Toronto are facing unaffordable housing costs that limit their ability to spend money on other life necessities," reads the ACTO report.

"Many facing rising rents are being displaced from their communities and many more are commuting longer hours between home and work."

We know that a lack of affordable housing is hurting people in Toronto, particularly those in low-income households — but what's the solution? How can a city ensure families aren't booted from their rental homes due to rising rents and stagnating incomes?

Especially in a market with a roughly one per cent vacancy rate, where landlords can charge exorbitant amounts for empty units? Where the average cost of a one-bedroom rental unit is now well above $2,000 a month?

"As rental housing costs continue to rise, all levels of government must focus on alleviating the burden of unaffordable housing, especially for low-income renters," suggests the ACTO in its Tuesday report. 

"We know for a fact that our affordable rental housing crisis will not be solved by building more condominiums or luxury purpose-built rentals."

"We need a combination of targeted policies and investments including funding for social housing, government support for non-profit housing, and strong protections in place for tenants," the report continues.

"Preserving the status-quo is no longer an option for the hundreds of thousands of renters struggling every day to keep a roof over their head."

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