Urban core support network annual conference 1982:
The disappearance of affordable housing for people on the margins

Year Published:  1982
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX2670

The 1982 Conference of the Urban Core Support Network, held in Toronto in October, focused on the disappearance of affordable housing.

The URBAN CORE SUPPORT NETWORK is made up of individuals and groups in cities across Canada who share a commitment to support each other in the empowerment of people on the margins of society. The NETWORK is linked through its Newsletter (published four times a year) and annual conferences.

The 1982 Conference held in Toronto in October, focused on the disappearance of affordable housing. More than 70 men and women from thirteen urban centres participated. As they shared local concerns, several common themes emerged. The rooming houses or cheap hotels which provide affordable accommodation to the poorest are being lost without being replaced. New expressways, shopping centres, commerical complexes, and condominium developments have resulted in demolitions. The "gentrification" of urban core areas and "whitepainting" has meant that buildings which once housed up to ten individuals in rooms now house only one couple or family. Affordable apartments have also been lost through condominium conversions or luxury reovations which place them far above the means of their former tenants. These units have not been replaced as developers find condominium construction more profitable than building of moderate or low income rental units. Furthermore, the increase in rents, without accompanying increases in welfare, disability or old age pensions, leave many unable to purchase enough food.

As more and more men and women find themselves on the streets, many governments and social services are proposing more hostels and emergency shelters. They do not recognize that the homeless need permanent homes. At the Conference, participants discussed various long-term responses to the housing crisis. Working groups focused on non-profit housing corporations, co-operative housing for ex-mental patients, residences for alcoholics, the design and development of supportive communities, strategies for the support of people in rooming houses, and policy and funding issues. A key note speaker presented an overview of the factors affecting the housing crisis and reflected on various local, provincial, and national strategy options for improving the situation of the homeless. A Conference Report containing the findings of the workgroups and the keynote address is available.

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