Reports from social planning and research councils across Ontario warrant a close read

A Dec. 1, 2019 CBC article is entitled: “45 per cent of Hamilton renters living in unaffordable housing, new report says: Average rent in the downtown core, mountain has risen 40 per cent in 8 years.”

An excerpt reads:

Reports released by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton show that 45 per cent of renters are living in unaffordable housing and using a disproportionate amount of their income just for shelter.

The Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton (SPRC) is publishing documents over the next few weeks on the rental housing crisis in Hamilton, where prices keep rising and residents can’t keep up.

The non-profit has released its first four bulletins as part of a 15-part series. The reports show quickly rising rental prices that demand a greater percentage of people’s incomes and how evictions for reasons other than non-payment further the problem.

Commentary

I am impressed with and inspired by the role the Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC) of Hamilton is playing in disseminating information of relevance to Hamilton residents.

I am equally impressed with the role the Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC) of Perth-Huron is performing in sharing information of relevance to Perth-Huron residents.

I have shared information about reporting from Perth-Huron in a series of recent posts beginning with one entitled:

One in two households earn less than a living wage in Perth & Huron. These photos, taken by residents, underline the impact of low incomes

Along with the CBC and a number of newspapers, such social planning and research council reports play a key journalistic role in sharing of information with the wider public.

Given changes in the media landscape journalism now is often performed – very capably – by writers not labelled as journalists. Previous posts highlight the changes:

There is a paucity of community newspapers in Canada, according to research by a Ryerson University journalism professor

Ethnography, journalism, filmmaking, and screenwriting

Click here for previous posts about journalism >

Rise of populism in response to contemporary economic challenges

A previous post regarding associated topics is entitled:

There is is an alternative to ‘eternal economic growth’

Processes by which people are priced out of cities

A Feb. 13, 2020 UTM (University of Toronto – Mississauga Campus) article is entitled: “‘Lost opportunity’: UTM expert suggests Mississauga push for affordable housing in Square One development.”

An excerpt reads:

“We’re seeing people priced out of the city,” says [Tara] Vinodrai, who is also the director of UTM’s new Master of Urban Innovation professional graduate program.

Part of the problem is the loss of the middle class, she says. Manufacturing is declining in favour of a growing technology-based economy with higher-earning jobs that require higher education. What is emerging is a division of the labour market, where people either have a lot of resources for housing or they have very few, Vinodrai explains.

Those in lower-earning jobs are increasingly unable to afford housing, particularly in these mixed-use developments that are often in desirable locations with access to amenities and transit.

“Even in the mid-sized cities we’re starting to see a push on housing prices that makes it unaffordable, particularly for people in the lowest brackets,” Vinodrai says.

What makes the Mississauga development interesting is that developers have explicitly stated they are not setting aside units for affordable housing and, to date, it doesn’t seem the city is pushing back, Vinodrai continues.

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