Report Back : Toronto’s Youth Housing Crisis: Affordability During COVID-19 & Beyond

September 11, 2020 by School of Cities Staff

A Webinar on Toronto’s Youth Housing Crisis: Affordability During COVID-19 & Beyond  

On September 3, 2020, a panel of young adults met to discuss Toronto’s housing affordability crisis, shedding light on the issue as it relates to the often-overlooked youth demographic (age 18-30). Supported by the Institute for Management & Innovation (IMI) at UTM and moderated by graduate student Nelsen Elsholtz of the MSc Sustainability Management program, the 4 panelists shared their diverse perspectives and explored the root cause intersections between politics, the economy, society, and the environment. As part of a widespread crisis confronted by countries across the world, access to affordable housing in Canada is not a monolithic issue for young adults, and disproportionately affects racialized and marginalized communities. The discussion examined how COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated conditions for youth across the city. Could the pandemic be the wakeup call we need to finally start creating real, sustainable solutions? 


graphic notetaking of a webinar on youth homelessness capturing the voices of the vulnerable

The perspectives and narratives shared during the webinar were also captured through graphic notetaking by Lynne Dalgleish, which culminated in this evocative visual. The narratives and challenges faced by the victims of, or those most vulnerable to homelessness in Toronto that were highlighted during the discussion have been succinctly showcased against the backdrop of the pandemic, which has worsened their situation. 

This project was supported in collaboration with the University of Toronto’s School of Cities, the Institute for Management and Innovation (IMI) and the Master of Science in Sustainability Management Program (MScSM). As part of this MScSM graduate research project, we invite you to participate in this youth housing survey by October 8, 2020 for a chance to share your perspectives and enter for a chance to win one of four $50 gift cards.


Watch the recording of the discussion below


  • Da Chen, MSc Urban Planning (U of T), Indigenous Relations Team, Parks Canada 

  • Deqa Nur, Tenant First Advisory Panel, Toronto Community Housing Corporation 

  • Keir Matthews-Hunter, MSc Urban Planning (U of T), City Planning Division, City of Toronto 

  • Andrew M. Thomas, ESL Teacher, MA Human Geography Candidate (U of T) 

Support Team:  

  • Chúk Odenigbo, Chat Support 

  • Lynne Dalgleish, Graphic Notetaker, VisualTalks 

Moderated by:  

  • Nelsen Elsholtz, MSc Sustainability Management Candidate, U of T