Yesterday was World Habitat Day, a day designated by the United Nations as a time to reflect on everyone’s basic right to adequate shelter.
Habitat for Humanity Canada took the opportunity to encourage Canadians to make housing a top federal election issue. We talk a lot on our blog about new housing communities, homebuying tips, and affordability challenges and some potential solutions, but it’s important to remember that there are Canadian families struggling with more than just high prices.
“Every day, more and more families are caught in punishing cycles of unpredictable rent increases, overcrowded conditions, and a lack of affordable housing,” says Mark Rodgers, Habitat Canada’s President and CEO. “Too many families live with a constant burden of uncertainty, stress and fear – especially their children. Housing is a basic human right, and every individual campaigning during this election should be able to answer how they will ensure everyone has access to decent and affordable housing.”
According to Habitat, there are 1.7 million Canadian households in core housing need, challenged by overcrowding, unaffordable housing, rising prices, and the need for major repairs. It’s not just home ownership that’s out of reach, renting can be just as challenging for some.
Approximately 40% of Canadians are paying more in rent than what is considered affordable. Half of single-mother households are spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. The number of seniors in core housing need increased 21% from 2011 to 2016, and 20% of indigenous households are in homes in need of major repairs.
Habitat does a lot of good work making home ownership more attainable for low-income families. Homeowners through the Habitat program volunteer up to 500 hours to help build their home and end up with a mortgage geared to their income. Many members of the new home industry are involved in making Habitat a huge success here in the Greater Toronto Area.
“There has been a lot of significant movement forward on ensuring increased access to more affordable housing,” says Rodgers. “For whoever wins this election, we cannot afford to lose momentum now as it would only deepen the current housing crisis.”
Before heading to the polls on October 21, do your research and cast your vote for the federal party that will do most to ensure affordable, adequate housing for all.