Why Housing Matters

Access to safe, stable, affordable housing is linked to better health.

Affordable housing leaves people with more money to spend on basic needs such as healthy food, clothing, medicine, child care and transportation. These benefits lead to better emotional and mental health, more stability and less stress. Having a safe, secure, well-located place to live is an important part of gaining employment, food security, access to social services, education, recreation and health care.

Poor quality housing is linked to higher rates of:

  • Disease, illness and injury
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor mental health
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Exposure to violence

Who is at Risk?

Indigenous people, those with mental illness and low-income families with children are at greater risk for homelessness and more likely to live in unsafe, unstable, and unaffordable housing. The possibility of homelessness has harmful effects on children, and homelessness has lasting impacts on mental and physical health that can lead to illness later in life.

Want to Know More?

Housing in Northwestern Ontario

In the Northwestern Health Unit Catchment Area

This is a pictiure of an old-looking apartment complex
  • 17% of households spend 30% or more of their income on shelter costs
  • 15.8% of dwellings in need of major repairs—the average for Ontario is 6.1%
  • 6.4% of dwellings are considered not suitable for a living—the average for Ontario is 6.0%

(Source: 2016 Census)

What Can You Do?

There is a clear need for policies to ensure that all people have access to safe, stable, affordable housing, and a need for policy interventions that target specific populations and communities that are at higher risk for insufficient housing.

You can get involved in:

  • Advocacy work with local housing/income/poverty groups; orient toward effective collective action and steps to prevent homelessness and make housing more affordable.
  • Policy development to ensure navigation supports at critical points of transition from systems (e.g., hospitals, schools, corrections, child protection, and mental health programs).

Local and regional elections provide an opportunity to vote for parties and candidates whose platforms support the above policies.