QUEEN’S PARK – A day after the Auditor General released a scathing report of the Wynne government’s financial statements, NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky demanded answers as to why there are now more people waiting for social housing than actually living in social housing in Ontario.
“In my riding, in Windsor, we have 4,000 people and families on our waitlist,” said Gretzky. “The wait list in Ontario has grown by 36 per cent since the Liberals have been in power — that’s 185,000 families.”
On Wednesday, the Auditor General revealed that only 5 per cent of people on the social housing waitlist actually get housing each year, and the wait times within some municipalities can be as long as nine years. While the need for social housing has reached a tipping point, Gretzky said that the Wynne Liberals have no provincial strategy to address growing waitlists.
She called on all MPPs in the house Thursday to try to imagine what that would feel like.
“Some families have to wait close to ten years before they are provided with a place to live,” she said. “Imagine their lives in those ten years – could anyone in this house hold on that long before their families had a safe, secure, place to live?”
The last Conservative government laid the foundation of today’s social housing crisis by downloading responsibility for social housing onto municipalities, without providing a way to pay for it. The Liberal government has continued with this policy, cutting another $150 million per year out of municipal social housing in 2013.
Gretzky said that both new social housing builds and existing social housing stock are declining, making things even more difficult for families.
“About a third of all social housing in Ontario is at risk of being lost forever due to the expiry of contracts which will allow private landlords to convert social housing into condos,” said Gretzky.
“What will this government do to save these social housing units? And will they commit to building enough new units to meet the needs of Ontario families?” asked Gretzky.