Zehr joins mayors' call to action on affordable housing

The mayors of Canada's largest municipalities say more needs to be done to address affordable housing in the country's urban centres.

Mayors of Canada’s largest cities say there is a growing housing crisis

The mayors of Canada’s biggest cities say a housing crisis is spreading across the nation’s urban centres, with many people incapable of buying homes due to high debt and current economic conditions.

The mayors, who met at a conference held over the past week of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Vancouver, say the average price of a new home has more than doubled between 2001 to 2010.

Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr says the issue is no different in Waterloo Region.

"There are about 3,000 households in the Region of Waterloo that are on a waiting list," said Zehr. "That waiting list keeps getting longer because there are more people here and there isn’t an awful lot of new housing units going on the market."

In Ontario, over 150,000 people are on the waiting list for affordable housing.

The federation also pointed out that 42 per cent of Canadians under age 29 still lived with their parents in 2011, compared to 26 per cent in 1981.

The federal government says it has invested $15 billion in housing and homelessness programs since 2006 and will extend its investment in affordable housing to 2019. An additional $1.25 billion worth of federal funding over the next five years is expected as part of the government’s Economic Action Plan.

But Canada’s mayors are concerned that $1.7 billion in annual federal housing investments will disappear. They say that budget will shrink by $500 million a year beginning in 2014. 

With files from The Canadian Press