Housing crisis

A new podcast explores the housing crisis in Muskoka

Photo by Maximillian Conacher on Unsplash

Muskoka is going through a housing crisis and while there are a multitude of factors contributing to this problem, one thing is clear: people are hurting. That’s why Circles® Muskoka – a community-based poverty reduction initiative led by YWCA Muskoka – has launched a new podcast series called Walls Within: Diary of a Housing Crisis. The intention of the podcast is to raise awareness to inspire action in the community.

The Walls Within Podcast explores Muskoka’s housing crisis from the perspective of those most affected and features deep, personal and vulnerable stories of struggle, hope and overcoming obstacles in the search for a safe place. , affordable and fulfilling.

“This project aims to shine a light on the real stories of Muskoka residents and how the housing crisis directly affects them, said Liz Angell, Coordinator of Circles Muskoka. “By focusing the voices of those most affected by the housing crisis, we hope to provide a perspective for the larger Muskoka community that is largely missing from the narrative.

At the individual level, housing is a basic need, but it is also a key requirement for wealth and the health of the overall economy. Rental rates and housing costs have risen at rates that cannot keep up with local wages. The price of an entry-level home in Muskoka before the pandemic would have cost around $400,000. A Royal LePage Report cites that the average home price is expected to rise 13% this year, to an average of $737,890.

The rental market is also gloomy. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reports that the average rental unit in Huntsville is $1033, but anyone looking for a place to rent will tell you otherwise. Options are few and you would be challenged to find a decent space for less than $1,500 per month. Two-bedroom units cost upwards of $1800 per month. Ads move fast and are competitive.

Finding a place with rent geared to income is even harder to find. There are 468 subsidized housing units in Muskoka, and in 2017 there were 640 applicants on the waiting list. This translates to an average of 6 to 8 years of waiting.

“There are so many misconceptions and stigmas surrounding homelessness. I want to break the stigma and help people realize that it can happen to the people you least expect: your family, your friends, the people you work with,” said Tracy Nickles, a Muskoka resident who has been interviewed on the Walls Within podcast. “I hope sharing my story will raise awareness and understand the many faces who live in fear of homelessness.”

Walls Within grew out of group discussions within Circles, a community collaboration, led by YWCA Muskoka, committed to poverty reduction by harnessing the power of relationships. The program pairs low-income families (Circle Leaders) and individuals with community volunteers (Circle Allies) to build relationships across income groups, find solutions, and create a support system to help individuals and families cope. get out of poverty. The group discusses the obstacles that stand in the way of the circle leaders and the accommodation of the agreed topic.

The first episode of the Walls Within podcast is available now on Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, RSS. Find links and additional information on housing in Muskoka here: www.circlesmuskoka.com/podcast