Social Housing Wait Lists and the One-Person Household in Ontario
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Social housing wait lists are indicative of the need for affordable housing in communities across Ontario. Growing wait lists also suggest that existing social housing supply and programs are not a solution to immediate or foreseeable housing problems for most low-income households. As a result, many households turn to shelters or make do with what they are able to find in the private market, often spending more than 30% of their income on rent. The focus of this study is one-person households under the age of 65 who make up approximately 40% of the applicants on Ontario social housing wait lists. This cohort has the longest wait times. What are the housing experiences of this demographic while they wait? How do municipalities respond and what do community advocates say about this response? This study addresses these questions through key informant interviews conducted with single non-senior social housing applicants, community advocates and policy-makers, doing so comparatively for two CMAs: Guelph and Kingston. Examining homelessness through a critical lens of neoliberalism, this study concludes with policy recommendations to address urban housing issues for low-income singles.