Looking for Housing
The following table shows the average cost for different sized apartments in The City of Kingston in 2014/2015. Housing costs may be higher than these averages since many places do not include utilities in the rent.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), housing is affordable if a household pays 30 percent or less of their gross income on shelter costs. According to the CMHC recommendations, a person making $8/hour working 40 hours per week earns $1280 gross income and can afford to pay $384/month in rent. If you are receiving social assistance (Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program), you are entitled to a maximum shelter allowance of $372 (single).
If your housing costs are more than your shelter allowance, you will have to use part of your basic needs allowance to pay these costs. If your housing costs are less than your maximum shelter allowance, you will only receive the amount you need for your rent and utilities. If you are on a fixed or lower income, you may not be able to find housing that is truly affordable unless you are able to move into a rent-geared-to-income (subsidized) housing.
When you are looking for a place, find out the total housing costs before deciding to take it. Ask the landlord if there are parking or other fees on top of the rent, and call the utility companies to check on the average cost per month. One way to cut costs is to rent a room or share an apartment. However, your rights may change depending on the situation (e.g. if you are sharing a kitchen or bathroom with your landlord or a member of the landlord's family). If you plan to rent a room or share an apartment, look at CLEO's Sharing Rental Housing ( www.cleo.on.ca ). This web tool helps you figure out which laws apply to your situation and what your rights and responsibilities are.
If your income is low, you may find that you don't have enough income to cover all your expenses after you pay for your housing. No matter how well you budget, if the income isn't there to cover the basics you may run into trouble. You will find information on emergency assistance and food programs, food banks and places for used clothing and furniture in the Local Services section. You can also find contacts for local organizations that are advocating for affordable housing and an end to poverty.