Community housing renewal strategy

Government of Ontario

Learn about Ontario’Learn about Ontario’s strategy to sustain, repair and grow our community housing system.s strategy to sustain, repair and grow our community housing system.


Community housing – sometimes referred to as social and affordable housing – is a vital community resource, providing homes to over 250,000 families and individuals across Ontario. Today’s system has faced great challenges and Ontario is at risk of losing our community housing, at a time when we need more. Some buildings need significant repairs and, in some regions, there just isn’t enough housing. The housing that is available doesn’t always meet people’s needs and the community housing system itself is complicated and full of red-tape.

Our government is putting people first and introducing our Community Housing Renewal Strategy that outlines how we will work with our partners to stabilize and grow the community housing sector.

When people have the housing they need, they have better health, education and employment outcomes. When housing is affordable and in areas near transit, schools, workplaces and amenities, individuals have the opportunity to manage their lives and raise their families.

While most Ontarians find housing in the private market, there are many low-income households who require some form of assistance through the community housing system.

Between 1991 and 2016, the number of Ontario households needing assistance increased from approximately 12% to 15% of total households (Statistics Canada/Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Census of Population (1991-2016) and National Household Survey (2011)).

Finding affordable housing can be especially challenging for those who are working at minimum wage jobs, struggling to find employment or on social assistance.

Right now, 56% of renter households in Ontario cannot afford the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment ($1,266). Rising housing costs have a significant impact on low-income households, who may have to choose between putting food on the table and paying the rent.

Ontario’s Community Housing Renewal Strategy is focused on affordable housing for low-income households and the non-profit, co-operative and municipal housing sector. Our strategy will help sustain, repair and grow our community housing system, making it work better for the people it serves.

The Ontario government is developing a detailed action plan to increase the supply of market housing. The Housing Supply Action Plan is a result of an online consultation to gather ideas on creating more affordable and good‐quality places to live. Over 85% of the more than 2,000 submissions received through the consultation came from the general public. More than half said their top criteria when looking for a home were affordability, followed by transit, schools and services located nearby. The action plan, together with this Community Housing Renewal Strategy, demonstrates our commitment to helping Ontarians find a home that meets their needs and their budget.

What is community housing?

Community housing is housing owned and operated by non-profit housing corporations, housing co-operatives and municipal governments or district social services administration boards. These providers offer subsidized or low-end-of market rents – housing sometimes referred to as social housing and affordable housing.

Social housing was developed through federal or provincial government programs from the 1950s through 1995. Over 250,000 households live in social housing. About 185,000 pay a geared-to-income rent and the rest pay a moderate market rent.

Affordable housing programs since 2002 have led to the construction of about 21,800 rental units with rents maintained at or below 80% of Average Market Rent for at least 20 years. These units were built in both the community and market sector.

The hundreds of community housing providers that have created housing through these programs operate across Ontario and are a vital part of our housing system. They make up more than 20% of all purpose-built rental housing in Ontario. The insured replacement value of community housing is over $30 billion – and this doesn’t include the value of the land it is built on. We cannot afford to lose this vital rental housing.

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