Students renting in Scarborough–Rouge Park unsure about Ford’s future plans for affordable housing and a living wage

UTSC student Ethan Foerster pictured against a wall his local plaza. Foerster is concerned about finding affordable housing close to campus. Photo provided by Foerster 

With the provincial election over, and the Progressive Conservatives back in power, Scarborough students like Ethan Foerster wonder how this will impact affordable housing options close to campus.

The fourth-year University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) campus student said he feels defeated.

“The housing crisis has seriously affected me because it’s made it so hard to find living accommodations close to campus; like none of the prices make sense and it kind of just seems like a waste to me,” said Foerster, who studies human biology, psychology, natural science & environmental management.

The Scarborough–Rouge Park area is home to the UTSC campus and the Centennial College Meadowvale campus. For students not living in the area, this means commuting, living in residence, or finding living accommodations nearby. Given the high cost of rental housing in the area, living off campus is tough, Foerster said.

According to data from Zumper, an apartment rental website, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Morningside area is $1,600 a month, a 15 per cent decrease from 2021.

At the UTSC, the cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment up to 125 square feet is $11,697 for the school year. These residences are guaranteed to first-year students only, so while upper year students can apply they aren’t promised accommodations according to the UTSC Student Housing & Residence site.

With minimum wage being $15 an hour in Ontario — which is not a living wage according to a study done in 2019 by the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN) — many students can’t make ends meet.

In April of this year, Doug Ford recognized that wages haven’t kept up with the increasing cost of living and promised to raise the minimum wage in Ontario to $15.50 an hour by Oct. 1, 2022. According to OLWN, $22.08 is the living wage in Toronto.

“Torontonians are the most likely to report finding the costs of their rent or mortgage tough or very difficult (46 per cent),” said an Angus Reid Institute independent study released earlier this year.

“I’m graduating now, still deciding if I’ll be returning for my master’s, but ultimately since the PC Party has won, I hope that they’ll make serious considerations for young people in the area. No movement was made in the past, but all we can be is hopeful, right?” said Mazhar Hosseiny, a fourth-year UTSC business administration student.

Vijay Thanigasalam was re-elected as MPP of Scarborough Rouge-Park. The Toronto Observer reached out to Thanigasalam for comment and did not receive a response in time publication.

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Posted: Jun 17 2022 8:43 pm
Filed under: News