Posted September 19, 2018
Mississauga has a housing crisis according to ACORN Canada.
The advocacy group for low- and moderate income families held a rally on Sept. 12 in front of Mississauga city hall at Celebration Square. It held an affordable housing petition drive calling on all candidates in the upcoming municipal election to “take bold stands on ending the housing crisis in Mississauga.”
Those bold stands followed a list of demands including setting aside a 25 per cent of all new housing development as affordable housing and redefining the city’s definition of low-income ($39,000 to $55,000) and moderate income ($66,000 to $99,000).
Mississauga ACORN co-chair Virginia Vaithilingam distributed flyers laden with several charts showing disparities in income vs. rent.
“A single full-time minimum wage worker can only afford to pay $700,” she said pointing to a number listed as the average rent for a bachelor apartment — $900.
“Where is this extra money going to come from?”
She called affordable housing the most pressing issue facing the city and called on candidates running for council to take action.
Also at the rally were representatives from the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Peel, who said they supported ACORN’s demands because of what they’ve seen in the classroom.
“It effects the kids’ ability to learn and how they experience the day,” ETFO Peel vice president Felipe Pareja said. “If the family income pie is only so large, and a significant portion is going to rent or mortgage, then there are other areas of the kid’s life — very basic and fundamental needs — that are going to suffer.”
One of the rally attendees and new ACORN member Toyin Odunlami said she joined the group after it successfully fought to reduce transit prices by 50 per cent last year in Peel. She works at a Salvation Army shelter where she says the effects of a lack of affordable housing can be seen.
“A lot of people come to the shelter because they can’t afford to pay their rents,” Odunlami said. “They get evicted because they can’t pay almost half their income for rent, it’s not fair.”
Affordable housing is a key issue in the upcoming municipal election and it's on the platforms of several mayoral and ward candidates. The municipal election takes place on Oct. 22.
Article by Ali Raza for Mississauga.com