Mississauga has an affordable housing crisis, where for many people in the city the option of affordable and adequate housing remains limited. This crisis has been recognized by the City of Mississauga in the form of their draft affordable housing strategy, “Making Room for the Middle: A Housing Strategy for Mississauga”. The City calls their strategy bold and innovative. It further recognizes that “the provision of a range of housing choices for all household incomes is critical for the long term health and viability of our city.”
So why leave out a third of the city’s population – the most vulnerable residents – from the strategy?
The strategy is comprised of 40 actions that work towards increasing affordable housing. Yet despite assertions that housing choices must be increased for all households, it leaves out solutions for one-third of the population. Somehow, the City has focused all of its strategic efforts on making housing affordable for those making over $55,000 while excluding anyone making less.
According to the latest CMHC data, over 70,000 households in Mississauga earn $20,000 to $60,000 annually. Residents making lower incomes deserve a chance to live in safe, adequate and affordable rental homes. Surely these households are struggling with the increasingly unaffordable rents in their neighbourhoods.
The City’s argument that the region of Peel is responsible for these individuals is a false one, since many do not qualify for social assistance and many more that do qualify are on long waiting lists that force them to pay unaffordable market rent prices.
Approximately 69 per cent of low-income residents in Ontario live in market rentals. In Mississauga, there were 5,688 households on the wait list for subsidized rental units in 2016 while the average wait time for a subsidized unit is 5.3 years. Providing an adequate supply of affordable housing for residents living on lower incomes shouldn’t be deferred to the Region, rather the City of Mississauga should take a leadership role in supporting its most vulnerable residents.
The City further believes that by solely focusing on middle income households, housing conditions will improve for all residents. How? The City fails to provide a reason.
Mississauga Should be a City for All Income Levels
Mississauga is Canada’s fastest growing city. Solutions to its affordable housing crisis should not be looked at in a vacuum. The City must include all of its residents in its strategy and to lift the financial burden of unaffordable rents on the many lower income households that are struggling to make ends meet.
After all, access to safe, adequate and affordable housing contributes to economic growth, social stability and health. Let’s create a city that can be home to all people regardless of their income.
Our demand is simple: create a strategy that strives to increase affordable housing for all residents. We will challenge the Mayor and City Councillors to act on this opportunity when they meet this fall to finalize their affordable housing strategy.
Read our Report Card on the City of Mississauga’s Affordable Housing Strategy, where we grade each of their goals and offer recommendations to make this strategy work for all people living in Mississauga, regardless of their income.