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Video: Young people in Toronto sound off on unaffordable housing at mayor's roundtable

Mayor John Tory spoke at a housing affordability roundtable Monday, where he acknowledged the uphill battle many young people face finding a place to live.

Mayor John Tory, pictured here with panellists at a roundtable discussion on affordable housing, said companies won't want to locate in Toronto if there's nowhere for their employees to live.

Eduardo Lima/Metro / Metro Order this photo

Mayor John Tory, pictured here with panellists at a roundtable discussion on affordable housing, said companies won't want to locate in Toronto if there's nowhere for their employees to live.

The city of Toronto is failing young people when it comes to making housing affordable, Mayor John Tory said Monday, calling it a “crisis” that will have an impact on every aspect of life in Toronto if it goes unchecked.

The comments came at a roundtable discussion, where young professionals shared their hopes, dreams and horror stories about housing.

Mayor John Tory spoke at a housing affordability roundtable Monday, where he acknowledged the uphill battle many young people face finding a place to live.

I-Yana Tucker, 34, told Tory Toronto rents are so expensive that it’s “impossible” to live on her own as a single woman.

Sarah Robinson said most of the apartments she and her boyfriend can afford have been listed on the local bed bug registry or are a “two-hour commute” from downtown.

Tory acknowledged the problem of affordable housing goes beyond a growing backlog at Toronto Community Housing, and includes young professionals like Tucker and Robinson, who are earning decent salaries but finding themselves priced out of the 416 – or even the 905.

“I certainly don’t want to be any part of a discussion that involves looking a whole generation of young people in the eye, and saying to them, ‘you just don’t have the option to live in Toronto, it’s not going to be possible for you,’” he said.

Tory said the city has put forward $100 million worth of land, promising faster approvals and reduced fees in return for developers willing to build more affordable housing.

He also called for a national housing strategy, and support from the federal and provincial governments to help solve Toronto’s housing “crisis.”

Cherise Burda, director of Ryerson University's City Building Institute, said more of these kinds of initiatives, that incentivize developers to build cheaper housing downtown, are needed.

The city also needs to change regulations that make it expensive to build in urban areas, such as getting rid of minimum parking requirements in downtown developments.

“This comes down to changing those rules and regulations that make it very expensive to build in urban areas and cheaper to build in the suburban fringes,” she said.

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