A non-profit research group says Toronto needs to set goals for affordable housing now because the federal government is about to unveil its National Housing Strategy.

Greg Suttor, a senior researcher with a focus on housing at the Wellesley Institute, said he is pushing the city of Toronto to take action on affordable housing.

Suttor said he wants to see some tangible plans come out of the strategy. 

"If we got 1,500 units a year, it's not really keeping up with GTA growth, which is growing by 35,000 to 40,000 households a year, with probably about 10 per cent being low income," Suttor told Metro Morning on Wednesday. 

But he said every bit helps. 

Greg Suttor

Greg Suttor, a senior researcher with a focus on housing at the Wellesley Institute, said he is pushing the city of Toronto to take action on affordable housing. (Lauren Pelley/CBC News)

"It's not just people being squeezed out of the central city. It's the GTA that's growing. "

Suttor said the city does need to kick in more for existing social housing — including providing land, small amounts of capital funding and incentives for building.

He said he is seeing lower income renters restricted to specific neighbourhoods and basement units in Toronto.

But much of the responsibility lies with the federal and provincial governments, he said.

"The advocacy around the national housing strategy has been two-prong," Suttor said.

"One part of it is calling for and looking for more social infrastructure money to build housing. The other thing is making rentals more affordable."

Where are they going to go? Nowhere

Coun. Gord Perks, who represents Parkdale, said he fears what the future of affordable housing looks like in Toronto, and in his ward. 


City councillor Gord Perks said low income housing in the city of Toronto is not being built fast enough. (CBC News)

"Ten thousand people in low income circumstances are going to be moved out economically over this decade," Perks said.

"People in the lowest end of our rental market in downtown Toronto can either move out of the city or become homeless. There's simply no other option available."

 As the city's population grows, Perks said low income units in his ward are diminishing.

"Where are they going to go? Nowhere," Perks said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will speak in Toronto on Wednesday about how to make our country more affordable when the National Housing Strategy is announced.