KAWARTHA LAKES-The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit estimates 13.1 % of Kawartha Lakes residents live in poverty with the poverty rate for children 17 years of age and younger at almost 17%.
Officials say high housing costs and a limited supply of rental units are proving a double whammy in efforts to ensure Kawartha Lakes residents have access to a stable, secure place to call home.
The average price for a house in Lindsay is $433,881, according to the November 2019 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) housing report. Rent for a three-bedroom apartment is more than $1,450 per month in City of Kawartha Lakes– if you can find it. With a very low vacancy rate at less than one per cent, there are not enough rental units to meet local demand (Source: 2019 Housing and Homelessness Assessment Report for Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton County).
“These findings are worrisome because they highlight the lack of affordable housing in the City of Kawartha Lakes – both to buy and rent – and the toll it can take on people’s health,” says Mary Lou Mills, a Public Health Nurse with the local Health Unit.
To coincide with National Housing Day this Friday, The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is urging action about the lack of safe and affordable housing in the area, especially given its link to public health. Local residents are being asked to lobby all levels of government to build more affordable housing units.
Stable housing plays a key role in a person’s health, according to the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). A safe, secure place to live can help people gain employment, enjoy food security, and access social services and health care. Stable housing can also help people who are recovering from mental illness and addiction.
“A stable living environment is so important for our health, because without it, we fall into a vicious cycle of problems,” Mills adds. “If people do not have adequate housing, they are less likely to be able to find work and earn money. Without enough income, people cannot afford food and other necessities of life which are essential for personal wellbeing.”
Older adults are at higher risk of living in poor quality housing, as they are often on fixed incomes and have complex health needs. Often, social assistance, disability programs, seniors’ fixed pensions, and low-paying jobs do not provide enough to meet the basic needs of housing and food, Mills adds.
To meet the basic needs for a family of two adults and two children, both parents must work full time and make a living wage of at least $18.42 per hour in Kawartha Lakes. This living wage rate is based on calculations made by the Health Unit in 2018.
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