Comment 33465

By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted September 14, 2009 at 14:54:44

First off; kudos to everyone here for keeping this debate civil, there's never an easy answer for a polarizing issue like this but with meaningful debate can at least get close to a better solution.

Secondly, I thought I'd inject a few hard numbers into a debate which is sorely lacking hard evidence. (No offence intended to those who're debating.)

I navigated the city's god awful website and found the form one would use to sign up for affordable housing. (

On that form is lists the number of "units" avaliable in each complex - organized by their area in the city. (The city's definition of each area can be found at: It also says the size of the units available for each complex(i.e. number of bedrooms), using the number of bedrooms and multiplying by the number of units I found the total number of subsidized residents in each area. This is of course assuming one person per bedroom and using the average unit size for each building.

The data breaks down like this... Area..........Total Units......Av. Bdrms......Total Beds Ancaster 140 1.5 258.5 Dundas 263 2.08 532 Flamborough 159 1.5 273.5 Lower S.C. 385 1.2 511 S.C. Mountain 531 2.75 1396.5 East Mountain 3637 2.42 8264 West Mountain 1005 2.83 2686.5 East End 1936 2.25 4606 North End 463 2.8 1178.5 Central 866 2.05 1486 Downtown 3710 1.86 5057

West End 1247 2.27 2180.5

TOTALS 14,342 2.13 28,430

As you can see the Downtown area (Queen-Wentworth, Barton-Escarpment) already houses a quarter of all subsidized housing. In terms of total number of people the East Mountain has many more beds but keep in mind the east mountain area is also 4-5 times larger than the Downtown area and that more of those units are single family style rather than the core's predominant single bedroom style which lend themselves more easily to becoming flop houses.

If we use rough estimates of the areas of those locations we see that the downtown core has an average density of 2.53 subsidized beds per acre. Whereas the East Mountain has a density of 0.99 beds per acre. This is why (in my opinion) the "ghettofication effect" downtown is more pronounced, a larger concentration of disadvantaged people, leads directly to a larger concentration of those who prey on the disadvantaged, which in turn drives away those who have the means to, allowing more disadvantaged people to move in.

Frankly, I think the core has done more than its fair share in providing affordable housing for those who need it. What we need to do is upgrade the existing stock and start enforcing rules designed to prevent the upgraded affordable housing from becoming slums. They also need to spread out any new development so the affordable units are in sustainable mixed income neighbourhoods, not use "mixed for a few years" income neighbourhoods.

I'm also disgusted by the developer's cynical use of the "you hate lest they be labelled as heartless in time for the next election.

Whew, that was a long one!

P.S. I think a cool next step for this data would be to create a google map of all the residences perhaps broken down by ward. I know nothing about making one though but if anyone wants a had, or a copy of my data just let me know.

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