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Healthy & Affordable Housing

Safe, affordable housing is essential to good health. People who are homeless are sicker and have higher death rates than the general population. Living in shelters, rooming houses and hotels is a marker for much higher mortality rates than would have been expected on the basis of low income alone. In fact, homeless women aged 18-44 years are 10 times more likely to die than women in the general population of Toronto. Certain groups and individuals face greater barriers in finding affordable housing, including people with disabilities, racialized groups, seniors, and those with mental health issues. Creating Vibrant Communities recommends enshrining the human right to adequate housing in federal and provincial legislation and fast-tracking the provincial housing plan to ensure access to safe, affordable, appropriate housing that meets the changing needs of individuals and families throughout their life cycles.

Eliminating poverty, ensuring safe and affordable housing and drawing the link between healthy childhood development and longer term well-being emanate from universal human rights recognized in numerous international human rights documents and explicitly asserted in the Ontario Human Rights Code: “it is public policy to recognize the dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination.” Equity and healthy communities – vibrant communities – mean protecting economic, social and cultural rights and ensuring that discrimination and harassment, such as by gender identity, is unacceptable.

RNAO Recommendations

Healthy and Affordable Housing

  1. Enshrine the human right to adequate housing in federal and provincial legislation.
  2. Implement the recommendations of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to address discrimination in rental housing.
  3. Fast-track the provincial housing plan, including: capital subsidies to build new affordable housing or renovate existing housing stock that is substandard; rent supplements to ensure affordable housing for low and moderate income households; and supportive community-based housing and services for those with physical, cognitive and/or mental health needs.