Housing Crisis in Toronto

A bachelor apartment in Toronto in 2000 used to be $685. The minimum wage in 2000 was $6.85. Now, the average bachelor is $1,700 and the minimum wage is $14. While rent prices have gone up almost 37% in Toronto since 2000, average wages have only increased 10% between 1998 and 2011 according to Statistics Canada. Young people and adults (mainly women) who work full-time in minimum wage jobs simply can’t afford to live independently or with any quality of life. This situation is not sustainable. Income inequality is getting worse, and little wonder…

Unfortunately, rooming houses aren’t a good or safe solution for renters in today’s Toronto. These kind of shared accommodations can open up women, marginalized people, children, and men to unsafe conditions and in some cases, injury and even death. There’s an interesting article about the evolution of rooming houses in Ontario that I’d encourage you to read.
There’s a rooming house across from Ryerson called the Inglewood Arms, as an example. Rent is $800/month before tax. Like many rooming houses, it is being sold to a condo development company. Even with that rent, a minimum wage earner would be spending 50-75% of their wages on a single bed and a shared washroom. That’s if they are lucky enough to get full time hours.
I would not encourage students to consider the Inglewood Arms as an option, even if it weren’t soon to be knocked down.
I work with students who have encountered such intractable, dangerous problems with roommates that they’ve wound up homeless or vulnerably housed (couch surfing or living in shelters).
All of this said, none of this solves the root problem that those working full time on the minimum wage can’t afford to live. Full stop. This creates situations where people are forced to live in precarious conditions, staying in abusive relationships, unable to feed and clothe their children, save for the future, afford decent nutrition, all while working full-time. That doesn’t make sense to me. http://www.ontariotenants.ca/research/rooming-houses.phtml

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