Are you looking for affordable housing in Ontario?

rental agreement with keys

How to find affordable housing

There are long waiting lists for non-profit housing in Ontario. In some areas, people can wait up to ten years for a rent-geared-to-income (RGI) unit. In other places, the wait is much shorter.

To join the waiting list in your area, you need to contact a co-ordinated access centre.  These centres give information about the non-profit, co-op and public housing in your area.

You can also apply directly to a local non-profit housing provider if at least one of the following are applicable:

  • you do not need a subsidy
  • you need a unit modified for people with disabilities
  • there is no co-ordinated access center in your area
Although each area has its own policies, the rules are the same across Ontario:
  • You will be asked to fill out an application form. Everyone in your household 16 years or older must sign the form.
  • Most units are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are a victim of any kind of family abuse (partner abuse, elder abuse, child abuse) you will be given priority. In some areas, other groups are given priority. Ask your co-ordinated access system for details.
  • You can choose to apply for one building or many. The more buildings you apply for, the faster you will move up the list.  
  • If the information you put in your application form changes, you must tell the co-ordinated access center within the required number of days or you could be cut off the list.

Subsidy guidelines

About 80 per cent of non-profit tenants pay rent based on their income. This is known as rent-geared-to-income or RGI rent. Rent for these units is about 30 per cent of the household's gross monthly household income plus any additional charges for utilities or services.  Tenants who receive some government benefits pay a set amount of rent.  A subsidy paid directly to the non-profit organization covers the difference between the RGI rent and the full rent.

You are eligible for subsidy if you meet the following criteria:
  • each member of your household is either a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident of Canada, or a refugee claimant
  • at least one household member is 16 years or older
The following criteria also applies:
  • If you are a former social housing tenant, you must have paid any arrears in full and have no convictions for misrepresenting your income or fraud for at least two years (or longer in some areas).
  • If you own a permanent residence, you must sell the property within six months (or longer in some areas) of moving in.
  • If you are disabled, you must be able to live independently or arrange for your own support, unless the supports are part of the services provided by the non-profit organization.
You can apply for subsidy at the same time as you apply for housing.