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Where will our kids be able to live? Update!

February 20, 2013

A year ago, this blog asked, Where will the next generation live? On March 5th, about 100 people came together to help answer that question.

The occasion was the Ralph Thornton’s Centre’s Community Matters Town Hall that asked, “Can downtown housing remain affordable for the coming generation?”

It’s a pressing issue in the east end where I live. The average rent in the east end is $993 per month. That’s way lower than the other side of the Don River, where the average rent is $1,353/month.[1] But it’s over half what my 24-year old daughter takes home from her full-time job. And it’s roughly 90% of the monthly income of someone eking out a livelihood on the Ontario Disability Support Program.

As for buying a home? The housing market is said to be in a slump, but the average Toronto condo apartment in the 416 Region still costs $356,000; a semi goes for an average $626,000 and a detached house goes for a staggering $817,000.[2] My husband and I have respectable incomes, but we couldn’t afford to buy on the street we live on now. And as for twenty-somethings just graduating with student loans? Hard to imagine.

So, what can we do?

On March 5th, a lightning round from four panelist opened up some possibilities:

And then it was the audience’s turn. We are writing up notes from the meeting and will post them on the Ralph Thornton Centre website. We will also be sending them to City Councillor Ana Bailao, the Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee and member of the TCHC Board, and the entire Affordable Housing Committee.


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2013 7:10 pm

    The average rents in Toronto – both east and west – tell us a lot about the “eastification” of poverty, a term I decided to invent last year when looking at trends in working poverty. The reality is that there are a lot of fairly cheap places to live and they are almost all in the inner suburbs.
    One of the great non-decisions of my life was to move into a detached house in northern Scarborough 35 years ago. At that time, and until inequalities in transit, a new Free Trade Agreement and the realities of globalization started to ravage Scarborough (and a few north west transit deserts), the house value of my detached house greatly exceeded the Toronto average that included semis, town-homes and condos. Now my detached home goes for about $135,000 less than the average 416 semi-detached home.
    But no tears for me! I have a house. The opportunity is for lower income people to really make a go of it where the rents are lower.
    Try the transit-starved Birchmount corridor with its cacophony of rental and storage offers replete with hefty signing bonuses.
    So what can we do? We can equalize the 416 and with transit and road solutions, it would not be that hard to do if we had a will.

    There is a hill on Birchmount Road under which the VIA train line comes through, From there, you can watch VIA and GO Trains bustle underneath – you can see in the distance where the LRT bisects the road and you can imagine the 401 where cars and buses speed by.
    Yet none actually stop at Birchmount Road – which is in part responsible for the longest and growing unchecked vertical stand of poverty in our City.

    Oh, and you can also stare down at the discoloured black paint that obscures the shape of bikes that once signaled the Birchmount bike lanes.

    Where the next generation will live will depend on what they are able to afford. I guarantee that if they can’t afford that much, they will be moving to Scarborough.

  2. Ronny permalink
    December 11, 2013 6:51 pm

    Given the lack of affordable housing and the great need, It’ is remarkable that housing does not even come up in some election platforms….It should be inthe next provincial and federal campaigns. We have the opportunity to do just that……Call in to radio programs and contact journalists……Also for those who know how, to use social media to make housing a major issue in all elections coming up in the next two years.
    Thanks for your personal blog, Joy. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a year where we all do our part to make a positive difference.
    Ronny yaron

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