High-rise renters pay more than they can afford for units in need of ‘major repairs’ in Mississauga and Brampton: Report

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Published November 18, 2021 at 11:35 am

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Nearly half of high-rise households in Mississauga and Brampton are paying rent they can’t afford in aging buildings needing repairs.

According to a new report from United Way Greater Toronto, there are 330 high-rise buildings providing approximately 24,000 units in Peel which were built before 1985.

Dubbed “legacy towers,” these buildings house thousands of residents in Mississauga and Brampton. And despite living in aging developments, many high-rise rental households are paying more than they can afford on shelter.

The United Way said 45 per cent of Peel high-rise renters are considered low-income households, earning $39,183 or less per year before-tax.

The report found 48 per cent of high-rise renters in Peel are spending nearly a third of their before-tax income on housing, and some 23 per cent of households are paying more half for shelter.

Many of these rentals are overcrowded, and thousands of units are in need of “major repairs.”

According to the report, 20 per cent of rental tower households in Peel don’t have enough bedrooms for the number of residents.

This overcrowding can contribute to health concerns for both children and adults, including increased levels of psychological distress and respiratory infections.

Overcrowding also increases the risk of communicable diseases outbreaks including COVID-19.

The report said infection rates in Toronto four times higher among people living in neighbourhoods with high levels of overcrowding.

According to data collected from tenants in 2016, there are 3,700 high-rise apartment rental units in Peel considered inadequate and in need of repair.

David Hulchanski, a professor at the University of Toronto, said the report shows the need for a neighbourhood-level response for “the growing income and racial segregation in tower communities.”

He also said there needs to be government support for the structural renewal of legacy towers.

“The interconnected disadvantages of individual poverty, geographic concentration of low-income households, and the racialized nature of poverty in the GTA revealed in this report highlight the need for an urgent community response,” Hulchanski said in a statement.

The United Way said it primarily used 2016 Canadian census data in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) to conduct the report.

According to the Peel Region Housing Services, affordable housing in the Region is in ‘crisis.’

A presentation last month to the Government Relations Committee said the average resale price for residential property in Peel is over $1 million.

The average family in Peel looking to enter the housing market reportedly needs to save for 26 years for a down payment, and low-income families need to save almost twice as long at 51 years.

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