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Study calls for plan to preserve Parkdale rooming houses being lost to gentrification

Screengrab from the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust YouTube video.

Gentrification in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood may spell profits for the burgeoning real estate industry, but it spells disaster for vulnerable residents being displaced by a dwindling supply of rooming houses.

That was the finding of a new study by the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT), titled No Room For Unkept Promises.

The report noted that as property values continue to rise, an increasing number of rooming houses are being converted to single-family homes or higher-income rentals, displacing around 347 people over the past 10 years.

A study by the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) says an increasing number of rooming houses are being converted to single-family homes or higher-income rentals. PNLT
A study by the Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) says an increasing number of rooming houses are being converted to single-family homes or higher-income rentals. PNLT

 

The trend is expected to escalate, the PNLT adds, with 59 more rooming houses projected to close – affecting around 818 people.

“The continued loss of rooming houses in Parkdale will be catastrophic to the lives of hundreds of mostly low-income, vulnerable residents who depend on Parkdale’s social and community supports and are at risk of eviction, displacement, and homelessness,” the report stated.

“We call on the non-profit and public sectors to respond urgently to this crisis.”

The PNLT is proposing a 10-year plan to address the problem.

“As the federal government is poised for a reinvestment in a 10-year national housing strategy … there is a historic opportunity to implement an innovative approach to equitable development and smart growth at a neighbourhood scale, while preserving hundreds of affordable housing units in perpetuity. “

Four key directions for action include: (source: PNLT study)

  1. Proactive eviction prevention and response
  2. Affordable housing preservation through acquisition and rehabilitation of at-risk private rooming houses by a non-profit Community Land Trust (CLT)
  3. Development of new affordable and supportive housing
  4. Policy and planning tools that support development without displacement