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Affordable housing not easy to find: HSH participants

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, Home Suite Hope single parent participants were graduating from their diploma program, landing employment and able to become self-sufficient.

As recent housing market pressures began mounting, HSH began to see that graduates employed with decent starting salaries were struggling to be able to make ends meet.

Currently, HSH knows that even with assistance, those new to our program are challenged to find housing.

Recently a large group of new intakes to HSH programs went from being homeless to being housing within two to four weeks of intake. Thanks to Halton Region for facilitating partnering with Halton Housing and Health Department and Landlord Engagement Specialists (LES). But the accommodations are not easy to find.

We are currently facing a need for more units for participants in HSH’s Stabilizing First and Homeward Bound Halton Youth program, who are still working hard to find housing. Anyone with leads should reach out to HSH Interim Program Manager Nikkian at nikkianh@homesuitehope or Case Manager Leah at

“The inflation in housing costs has resulted in a dire situation where even our graduates with full-time employment cannot afford housing without some type of social benefit. Additionally, our families are remaining homeless for longer than ever before as landlords are engaging in purposeful bidding wars between potential renters -- a situation that our participants are unable to engage in.

Affordable Housing is paramount to the success of our families and others like them,” noted HSH Executive Director Sara Cumming.

HSH participants are challenged to find housing and that which is affordable.

The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $2100/month. HSH’s target is $1600/month and some clients are working with less, for example, one has a budget of $1500/month.

HSH participants are also pressed to find housing in above-ground units. For families, basement living should not be considered the standard of affordable living – there’s little privacy, a lack of play space, limited bedrooms and lighting.

Often basement units have few windows, a lack of access to outdoor space for children and can be hot in summer and cold in winter. The atmosphere can work against those recovering from trauma or struggling to steer clear of addiction.

Basement units are difficult to live in if you have children as noise and hydro costs can become issues for those living in proximity to the unit and kids are kids.

The housing search obstacles faced by HSH participants are compounded as they face stigma about being a single parent, having a single income or being racialized.

Landlords often require a co-signer for the unit and if an individual has no family, who do they ask?

The average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $2100/month. For a mom with several children, a one-bedroom unit is not feasible. Similarly, we have a mom who took a one-bedroom unit, gave her 17-year-old son the bedroom and sleeps on the couch.

HSH Affordable Housing campaign efforts aim to include single parents in the design, delivery and sustainability of affordable housing with a view to changing the standards of what is considered affordable housing.

HSH officially kicked off its Affordable Housing Awareness Campaign at the recent launch of Oakville pilot Callum Wallace’s launch of Flight for Hope.

Callum hopes to fly his single engine plane around the world in 2023 raising awareness about homelessness and affordable housing – and hoping to raise $1 million for HSH’s affordable housing efforts.

For more, check out the following CHCH Flight for Hope launch coverage:

For more about, or to donate to, Flight for Hope, visit www.flightforhope.

Check out the video on HSH’s Affordable Housing campaign


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