Lack of Affordable Housing Primary Cause of Homelessness

New information points to a lack of affordable housing as the primary cause of homelessness in the City of Windsor.

The information was shared at Wednesday's meeting of the social development, health and culture standing committee.

Volunteers found nearly 200 people living on the streets of Windsor during a homeless count in April. A quarter of them were youth.

Kelly Goz, the coordinator for Housing Administration and Development, Housing and Children's Services in Windsor, says one key factor was outlined in the survey. 

"We are seeing I believe more street homelessness than we have in the past because of the housing market," says Goz.

Ward 3 councillor Rino Bortolin tells CTV Windsor he is concerned the homeless issue will only get worse.

"We're on the cusp of a huge housing crisis in this town," says Bortolin. "The vacancy rate has been dropping for years. Homes have been selling, we haven't seen large developments for years."

Bortolin believes there are other factors. He points to a record number of international students at St. Clair College and the University of Windsor.

But he is concerned about the future with the thousands of construction and tradespeople working on multiple bridge projects.

The city also has a waiting list of more than 4,500 people looking for a home.

Windsor is making investments in affordable housing. Council recently approved the construction of a 150 unit building at the 3100 block of Meadowbrook near Lauzon Parkway.

The community housing corporation calls it the biggest investment in affordable housing in at least 30 years, and Goz tells CTV Windsor they need to keep that momentum.

"There's going to be greater pressure on building new affordable housing stock in our community that is quality, and really looking at housing as our main focus," adds Goz.

According to the Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors, 671 units sold in July. That was down 5% from July 2017, but the average selling price was a record $305,983. Stats also show overall supply of homes is running at record lows. 

Stats also how an increase in occupancy rates at every shelter in Windsor.