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Anti-Poverty Community Organizing and Learning (APCOL)

Housing Politics


by Yutaka Dirks and the Housing Network of Ontario (HNO)

On, September 30th, 2009, the final official public affordable housing strategy consultation was held in Thunder Bay. Low-income tenants, agencies, social housing advocates and others closed out the round of official public consultation with calls for a bold long-term affordable housing strategy which meaningfully addresses the deep housing needs in Ontario.

But the official consultation meetings are not the end of HNO’s work, and there are many opportunities to build the movement for affordable housing.

On Tuesday, November 3rd, members of HNO met with Minister of Housing Jim Watson to press for a comprehensive, fully-funded housing strategy with bold targets. We emphasized that the plan must ensure Ontarians can live poverty-free and with dignity in housing that is stable, adequate, equitably accessible and affordable. Watson promised that the long-term affordable housing strategy would be released by June 2010.


On Monday, November 16, HNO released Communities Speak: A Summary of the 2009 Provincial Housing Consultations. The report reflects government-led consultations held between June and November with housing providers, tenants, agency staff, private landlords, and low-income people in housing need. Ontarians were clear: we need a comprehensive, long-term affordable housing strategy with bold targets to improve the housing situation of low-income Ontarians.

The report summarizes core conclusions of the consultations with 40 recommendations for the provincial government to enact. You can view the report by visiting: http://www.stableandaffordable.com/content/communities-speak.

It is available in both English and French and is downloadable as a pdf.


At our meeting with Minister Watson we learned that while many hundreds of people have participated in the consultations, he has not received many formal written submissions. It is imperative that he hear from you – both because the long-term affordable housing strategy must be responsive to community needs, but also to underscore that housing is a priority in every community.

If you haven’t done so already, please make a written submission to the Provincial consultation process, highlighting the housing needs and solutions in your community.

Written submissions are being accepted until December 31, 2009. The mailing address is Housing Policy Branch,
14th Floor,
777 Bay St.,
 Toronto ON M5G 2E5.

HNO has created an on-line hub at http://stableandaffordable.com/ that is regularly being updated with the latest news, reports from community meetings, tips for actions and plenty of other resources.

Also on the HNO web site:


For more information contact:
Yutaka Dirks
Advocacy and Outreach Coordinator
Advocacy Centre for Tenants - Ontario
425 Adelaide St. W., 5th Floor.
Toronto, ON M5V 3C1
Email: dirksy@lao.on.ca
Tel: 416-597-5855 x. 5243

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