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Housing, food affordability continue to be hot topic in Windsor, Ont.

Frazier Fathers of Community Policy Solutions is delving into affordability, and said that between 2006 and 2022, prices for new builds went up 250 per cent.

During the same period the median household income rose only 25 per cent.

“The challenge in our community is that relative to the rest of Canada or the rest of Ontario, our wages have not kept up but prices are rising rapidly here and that's creating the affordability challenges,” Fathers said.

He used his situation as an example. Fathers bought a house in west Windsor before prices jumped and said he would struggle to afford a home in the neighbourhood today.

“People who used to five years ago get out of university, get a good paying job, go and buy their first new home out in the suburbs somewhere well. They're actually buying in these neighbourhoods because this is what they can afford if they're buying at all,” he said.

Fathers feels the increased demand for food banks and social services is a result of the home sale market, which has trickled down to affect the rental market.

“Right now there is such a lack of housing across the country that when we only look at one indicator, which is an hourly wage, we're not looking at the whole picture,” said Joyce Zuk, executive director of Community Living Windsor-Essex.

Late last year, the health unit reported that in order for someone to be able to afford food, shelter and transportation in Windsor-Essex County they would need to make an average of $18.15 an hour, a nine per cent increase from the year before.

“On average over the last 12 months, the average offered wage in Windsor-Essex is 23 dollars [an hour] on the high end,” said Justin Falconer, CEO of Workforce Windsor-Essex.

The median is $20 an hour, based on jobs available through Workforce Windsor-Essex.

“Most people that are making that wage, between 18, even 20 dollars per hour are paying at least 60 per cent of their income to rent a unit,” explained Zuk.

The city offers programs to help offset inflation.

“We're all looking for solutions and we're all doing the best we can to find solutions and i tell you there are some great success stories out there,” she said.

In addition, Zuk would advocate for a basic income.

“We need to look at what someone needs on an annual basis to have their basic needs covered,” she concluded. Top Stories

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