A recent report from Rentals.ca that depicts a massive increase in rental costs since February of last year paints a bleak picture for renters nationwide.

Asking rents for all residential property types in Canada averaged $2,193 in February increasing 10.5 per cent year over year. Rent is now 10.5 per cent higher than it was one year ago. Since 2015, rents have more than doubled.

It’s not just renters that are hurting. Since 2015, the average monthly mortgage payment has increased 137 per cent, while the minimum down payment for the average home has increased 126 per cent, raising the barriers for any renter who wants to achieve the dream of homeownership.

The situation is about to get worse because 3.4 million Canadians have a mortgage that is set to renew by March 2025.

Thursday’s announcement is not just about the money. What’s critical is what is done with the money to help with the local rental housing and affordability crisis.

After eight-and-a-half years of the Trudeau government, the housing affordability and attainability crisis gripping our nation and our communities is something that I hear about every day from the residents of Barrie-Innisfil as their MP.

The reality is that seniors are having trouble paying their rent, mortgages, and senior home payments forcing many to burn through their retirement savings quicker.

Families, especially single-parent families, are struggling to keep a roof over their head with increasing rent and mortgage costs as well as the day-to-day costs like heating their home.

Young people are still living at home because they can’t afford to rent. Many young people are despondent at the prospect of never being able to afford to buy a home.

The situation is dire, and my fear based on all the data I have seen is that the housing affordability and attainability situation will get much worse before it gets better. It is the No. 1 issue I am dealing with.

In a recent finance committee meeting of Parliament, MPs asked Minister Sean Fraser about his “housing accelerator fund,” and he admitted that not a single home has been built because of it, even though Canadian taxpayers have put $3.15 billion into the fund. He even admitted that his flagship housing policy doesn’t actually lead to the construction of specific homes.

In the city of Barrie, however, I have much greater confidence in Mayor Alex Nuttall and council’s understanding of the magnitude of the problem, and I am also confident the mayor and council will do everything they can with this funding to reduce the current housing crisis with measurable and much needed results.

I am offering my help to Mayor Nuttall and council in whatever way I can to come up with and work on solutions.