Most people think that slums are a feature of
US inner cities. But many Canadians would be shocked to find that
housing conditions in some parts of Toronto are as bad or worse
than in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.
people even come to Toronto from the so-called Third World to find
housing conditions worse then what they left at home.
Toronto's slums are populated by the working
poor, people on fixed incomes and recent immigrants. The rents are
generally not that much less than "cleaner" better maintained buildings.
But often these better buildings are not accessible
to the poor or new immigrants. There is a hidden but clear pattern
of discriminatory rental practices.
We are creating ghettoes.
They are clustered in various parts of the
552,300 people, or a quarter of Toronto's population,
live in poverty (based on Statistics Canada's Low Income Cut-off).
250,000 Toronto households pay more than
30 per cent of their incomes on rent. 20% pay more than 50%.
Toronto rents rose by 31% between 1997-2002,
more than double the 14% rate of inflation for the period.
71,000 households are now on the municipal
waiting list for affordable social housing
31,985 homeless individuals (including 4,779
children) stayed in a Toronto shelter at least once during 2002.
Rents on approximately 75% of all rental
units in Ontario have been increasing well above the rate of inflation
over the past decade, eating away at tenants' ability to meet
their household needs and resulting in housing-driven poverty.