Renting, owning homes tough in city: Report
"All the evidence, including this report, lines up to the fact that it’s time for Canada to pay attention to what’s going on in our housing system."
With prices for homes soaring in Ottawa, a new report reveals that more people are being priced out of the city.
The report yesterday by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) ranked Ottawa 17th among 22 Canadian cities for difficulty in finding affordable housing — a result that didn’t surprise Russell Mauby, Ottawa’s director of housing.
He said owning and renting here is getting so expensive that as much as 40 per cent of the population may have difficulty finding affordable housing.
“All the evidence, including this report, lines up to the fact that it’s time for Canada to pay attention to what’s going on in our housing system,” he said.
A recent Statistics Canada report showing more people moving to Gatineau, or areas outside the city, is evidence that affordable housing here is failing, he said.
“Now there’s a demand for bridges to cross the Ottawa River and the federal and provincial government is spending $104 million to expand the highway out to Rockland,” he said.
When people cannot find a place to live within their means, it puts more pressure on social services, said Lynn Carson with the Nepean Housing Corporation.
“They may end up having to go to the food bank, or they are one rent payment away from being evicted,” she said. “It’s a pretty tough grind if you’re out there in the marketplace trying to rent and you just can’t afford it.”
There are 10,000 names on the central waiting list for subsidized housing in Ottawa. Some on the list are homeless while others are families doubled up in apartments.
Yesterday’s report is intended to be purely statistical, said Maurice Gingues, a spokesman for FCM. They will release a strategy for dealing with the problem on Jan. 23.
The report examined affordable housing and homelessness between 2001 and 2006 in 22 large and medium-sized municipalities and urban regions across Canada.
It found fewer than nine per cent of all housing units completed in the largest cities in that time were rental units.