Canada’s hidden emergency: the ‘vulnerably housed’

Canada needs to address a hidden emergency in housing. No, it’s not an impending U.S.-style mortgage meltdown. Nor, surprisingly, is it homelessness, a problem that can hardly be considered “hidden” after the mayors of Canada’s biggest cities declared homelessness a “national disaster” 12 years ago and the United Nations declared homelessness in Canada a “national emergency” in 2007.

The truth is, an incredibly large number of Canadians are “vulnerably housed.” These low- and moderate-income individuals and families are spending more than 50 per cent of their income on rent. In many cases, their housing is in poor condition and doesn’t provide the basic safety, security and space that a person needs to be healthy.

Equally important, the meagre funds left after paying the rent are often inadequate to provide for other basic necessities such as food. The fact that more than 860,000 Canadians are using food banks each month is, in part, a reflection of an underlying housing problem – namely, the lack of affordable housing for people on limited incomes.

To read the full study, visit: Housing Vulnerability and Health: Canada's Hidden Emergency.

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