London Housing Registry closes after 3 decades

A perfect storm appears to have forced the closure of the London Housing Registry after 34 years. A brief memo was sent to agencies across the city informing them of the decision, effective July 1.

After 34 years and securing homes for 25,000, the office is suddenly closed

The former agency was located in London's downtown at 379 Dundas Street. (Google)

A perfect storm appears to have forced the closure of the London Housing Registry after 34 years.

A brief memo was sent to some social agencies across the city informing them of the decision to shutter the affordable housing agency, effective July 1.

"Due to the lack of affordable housing, the lowest vacancy rate since 2003 and financial instability, the London Housing Registry will be closing its doors permanently July 1, 2018," read the memo.

The note went on to say the agency had secured housing for 25,000 households in the private housing market. It also worked with people to avoid eviction by "...educating individuals and families on the Residential Tenancies Act."

Officials from the downtown agency including its executive director Shelley Milos have not returned calls made by CBC News.

Social agencies impacted

Chuck Lazenby, executive director of Unity Project, an organization that works to help the city's homeless, said vacancy rates have left an impact on day-to-day operations.

"Our goal is to work with people to get housing in the community and often times it means that we need housing that is based on a social assistance rate and certainly those units are few and far between," she said.

"It's something that we're feeling more now in the past year than we ever had in our entire history," she added.

Lazenby said it's well known that people are better off when they have a place to call home. She said it's a real battle to fight systemic barriers including a lack of availability and lack of affordability when it comes to helping those in need. 

"It feels like we're hitting a wall," she said. 

Lazenby said there needs to be investment in affordable housing or an increase in social assistance rates "very quickly" to better match rental rates.  

However, Lazenby praised the city for some of its efforts to help the homeless, such as providing housing subsidies and investing in organizations that provide those services.