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Quinte Mall home to affordable housing awareness campaign

By Lindsey Harren

Ringing doorbells are raising awareness about Ontario’s affordable housing crisis, as a part of a Housing Opens doors Campaign, at the Quinte Mall today.

Belleville is the fourth stop, of this six-city campaign this spring. People are asked to ring each of the eight doorbells to show support. The rings are then counted.

This is the first year, for the three-year campaign. The goal of the Housing Opens Doors campaign is to reach 156,358 rings, says the Housing Opens Doors website. The number of people in Ontario that are waiting for affordable housing as of January 2012, as indicated from the Housing Opens Doors website.

The doors are symbols of what benefits come along when affordable housing is available. This campaign is looking to encourage all levels of government to work together to resolve the issue, said John Wilson, spokesperson for Ontario Non Profit Housing Association.

“Affordable housing has roles to play in many issues people care about,” says Wilson. Community Development Council of Quintet approached the 770 members driven association, he said.

Housing is a topic that is not typically on peoples radar. Governments are not recognizing the increased demand for housing that matches paychecks.

“The vacancy level is dropping, costs of rent is up, yet income is stagnant”, said Wilson.

Affordable housing is at a crisis point, people are choosing between food and rent, he said.

“Investments in affordable housing, then health care costs drop because people have basis needs met,” says Wilson.

The association is trying to demonstrate that affordable housing is an investment, not just a short term cost. They purposely place the doors in unexpected locations to get people thinking of affordable housing as larger issues, said Wilson.

The doors have been on the corner of Younger and Dudes in Toronto and the Byward Market in Ottawa. The doors will be on display and ready to ring on Saturday in Windsor.