Thursday, June 05, 2008

More Canadians Struggle To Pay For Housing

The number of Canadians paying 30% or more of their household income on shelter has increased. Many of these are homeowners. 1.5 million renters pay 30% or more of their
income on housing. This percentage has risen since 2001.

The increase in the percentage of Canadians paying more than they can afford for housing is a clear indicator that housing conditions for low-income Canadians will not improve until there is a cohesive national plan of action. Today's census figures paint a picture of the failure to provide affordable housing to thousands of Canadians across the country.

Things have grown worse, not better since 2001 despite years of economic growth in Canada.

Several segments of the population are struggling to pay for housing. In 2006, 40.3% of all renter households were paying more than 30% of their income on rent. More than half of all renters living alone pay more than 30% of their income on housing. This figure has increased since 2001, from 50.1 to 51.6 %. Immigrant households faced higher increases in shelter costs than the Canadian-born population, but lower increases in income.

Lower-income Canadians are struggling more than ever to pay for their housing. Ottawa needs to take a leadership role in developing a national affordable action plan, in
consultation with the provinces, territories, municipalities and major housing
stakeholder groups. The Conservative government has been in power for nearly 2.5 years, and the number of Canadians paying more than they can afford on housing has increased. A positive first step would be for the federal government to provide some predictability for affordable housing providers, such as non-profit housing co-operatives, and immediately renew the major national housing programs that are set to expire on March 31, 2009, less than one-year from now.

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