Skip to content

LETTER Housing costs rising faster than incomes

'New builds for new homes and rental units are unable to keep up with population growth.'
Stock photo

CambridgeToday received this letter analyzing the Waterloo Region Community Foundation report on affordable housing.

The Waterloo Region Community Foundation (WCRF) released today its 2023 Report on Affordable Housing (Oct. 19).

As a researcher, I take the time to read these reports and translate them into language that ordinary people can understand.

Here’s what I got from reading all 70 pages. Most impacted by the housing crisis in the region are young people and non-homeowner older adults, newcomers and refugees, Indigenous, Black and People of Colour and those with disabilities.

When you compare price to income, our region is comparable to the most expensive cities to live in. New builds for new homes and rental units are unable to keep up with population growth. Households are expanding while spaces are shrinking. There are more homes with extended and multigenerational households.

Affordable units to buy/rent are disappearing quickly. Waterloo region has among the highest rates of in-migration and out-migration in the entire country. Given all these, it is not surprising that residents’ ratings for sense of belonging and neighbourhood satisfaction are below the national average.

Rising costs of housing means people have less money to spend on other essentials like food, bills and transport. Many of us will find it harder to get by.
Among the proposed actions are partnership with local non-profits, development of larger units to align with larger households, modular and pre-fab options, co-housing alternatives for communal sharing of common spaces and responsibilities among seniors and multiple households.

The report includes quotes from community members. Mike Morrell, MP Kitchener Centre, speaks to “Prioritizing homes as places to live rather than commodities to be traded.” Philip Mills, CEO of Habitat for Humanity, says “even those we thought didn’t need help, do now.” Grayson Bass of Waterloo Innovation Lab suggests that “Those communities united in purpose and driven by compassion will not only be more resilient…but will thrive in the face of adversity.” I couldn’t agree more.

Dr. Rafael Vallejo
Global Compassion Coalition