Hamilton: Better or Worse? Not enough affordable housing
The city hasn’t built any new social housing for nearly 20 years
Hamilton is in the midst of a housing boom, but not for people with the lowest incomes still suffering the long wait for affordable housing.
The city’s long waiting list for social housing has increased every year since 2007, and in the last two years, has reached its highest level in recent memory.
The cause? The city hasn’t built any new social housing for nearly 20 years.
Ten years ago, there were 4,362 applicants on the waiting list for rent-geared-to-income (RGI) housing. It dipped to around 3,817 in 2007, but by 2013, it was back up to 5,477. Some wait as long as five years.
Hamilton needs 629 new affordable housing rental units every year, but few are building them. Each year only brings about 144 new rental units, and those are only happening because of a publicly funded subsidy program.
Rental housing is expensive to build. Developers have to bear the full cost of the building, including land, construction and development charges, themselves, which amounts to as much as $200,000, says the city’s Housing and Homelessness Action Plan report.
Condos, on the other hand, can be sold ahead of time to pay for some of the costs of building them. In the last five years, figures show, 485 of the city’s 1,264 new units built were condos, and only 138 were apartments.