Groundbreaking new data mapping tool centralizes 18 years of information demonstrating changes in Canada’s affordable rental housing stock

March 12, 2024

Toronto, ON – March 12, 2024 – A new data mapping tool launched today, called the Low-end of Market Rental (LEMR) Housing Monitor. The tool presents critical information on the affordable “low-end” of the private rental housing stock in six urban regions across Canada: Calgary, Halifax, Greater Montreal Area, Greater Toronto Area, Metro Vancouver Area, and Winnipeg.

Until now, not enough was known about the existing stock of deeply affordable rental homes in cities across Canada, making it difficult for decision-makers to develop and evaluate policies and programs that effectively tackle the housing affordability crisis.

“Millions of people across Canada are impacted by a lack of affordable rental housing, and renters with lower incomes are facing especially alarming challenges securing homes they can afford,” says Annie Hodgins, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR). “We know that decision-makers across Canada are very concerned about the escalating affordable housing crisis, and they are searching for solutions. The LEMR Housing Monitor will equip them with the data they need to make impactful decisions when it comes to preserving the few affordable homes that still exist, and increasing the supply of housing that is affordable to people with lower and middle incomes.  

By presenting data from federal, provincial and municipal sources that have been integrated into a single tool for the first time, the LEMR Housing Monitor will help fill knowledge gaps and uncover key trends impacting affordability. It can be used by policymakers, urban planners, housing providers, service providers and housing advocates to enrich evidence-based decision-making in housing across Canada.

“By integrating data from dozens of federal, provincial and municipal sources, the LEMR Housing Monitor provides us with important context and a deeper understanding of trends in affordability than any one data source could,” says Megan Earle, CCHR’s Data Scientist. “This is a one-of-a-kind tool that provides insight into housing trends in a way we haven’t seen until now.”

The LEMR Housing Monitor features interactive maps that display data related to characteristics of the affordable housing stock within a defined area including the number of affordable units, types of units (i.e. market vs. non-market), and vacancy rate. The maps also include layers of information about renter households and building and neighbourhood characteristics (e.g. eviction rates), which provide additional context to the housing stock data and insight into regional differences. A date filter can be applied to observe how the data changes over time.

Initial insights gleaned from the tool include that less than half of bachelor and one-bedroom rental units are affordable for one-person households in all of the six regions studied. The tool has also revealed that between 2006-2021, the percentage of rental homes that are affordable to one-person households decreased between 8 per cent and 54 per cent across these regions.

“Anecdotally, we’ve heard that the number of affordable rental homes is diminishing and that they are increasingly unavailable in central urban areas,” says Daniel Liadsky, Managing Director of Purpose Analytics. “The LEMR Housing Monitor will help to translate anecdotes into evidence by articulating the magnitude of this issue and identifying where it is most acute.”

“This tool is more than a data bank; it represents a significant shift in how we approach housing decisions,” says Marlene Coffey, CEO of the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA). “With government and cross-sector partners, we can turn numbers into meaningful action, safeguarding our vital community housing supply and strategically investing in housing needs across the continuum.”

The LEMR Housing Monitor was developed by the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR), Purpose Analytics, the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, and R and Shiny Developer Sharla Gelfand.

Visit the LEMR Housing Monitor:

About the Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR)
The Canadian Centre for Housing Rights (CCHR) is Canada’s leading organization working to advance the right to housing. For over 35 years, CCHR has worked at the intersection of human rights and housing. We do this by serving renters to help them stay housed, providing education and training about housing rights, and advancing rights-based housing policy through research, policy development, advocacy and law reform.

About Purpose Analytics
Purpose Analytics works to build a data-informed non-profit sector, by supporting non-profit organizations to use data to support decision-making and communicate impact, and cultivating a network of people in the non-profit sector who work with data.

About the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association
Founded in 1988, the Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association (ONPHA) is an independent association funded and directed by its members. ONPHA leads, unites and supports a strong community-based affordable housing sector that helps to build vibrant, healthy and diverse communities for all Ontarians.

About Sharla Gelfand, R and Shiny Developer
Sharla is a freelance R and Shiny developer and a statistician. Their work specializes in developing tools that enable easier access to data and replacing manual, repetitive work with repeatable, reproducible, and future-proof processes.


For more information including media interviews, please contact:

Shelley Buckingham
Director of Communications, Canadian Centre for Housing Rights

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