Acheiveing Results to Improve Housing For Torontonians

Tackling Toronto's housing affordability challenges is vital to the long term prosperity of our city and to creating a place where everyone including our sons and daughters can have the opportunity to have a home of their own. As Toronto's Housing Advocate and Chair of Affordable Housing Committee, I know that meeting these challenges takes cooperation between all levels of government, private and non-profit developers and all our housing partners.

This year, we've made important progress with our Open Door Program and the City is on track to approving 1,200 new affordable rental units, surpassing our 1,000 unit target. Recently, I joined Mayor Tory and Daniel's Corporation to break ground on a new 102 affordable homeownership units in Scarborough and just this September, the City and Province announced that 600 new affordable rental units would be created as part of a 2,000 unit rental development. This will be done in partnership with the private and non-profit sectors by taking advantage of surplus public land and lowering the building costs for these units.

As we continue to create housing opportunities for seniors, families, young people and all who are striving to make Toronto their home, we must also ensure that our current housing stock is well maintained. This August, I joined with Ontario's Minister of Housing MPP Peter Milczyn to welcome a $300 million dollar investment as an important down-payment towards the Provincial portion of Toronto Community Housing's (TCH) $2.6 billion capital repair plan.

This funding builds on the $1 billion in capital repairs that the City of Toronto has already invested in TCH since 2013, completing almost 50,000 capital repair projects during this period to ensure that tenants can live with dignity in units that are safe.

In addition to this needed funding, we are also transforming TCH to be more responsive to tenants needs and set it on a path towards fiscal sustainability. This summer, City Council unanimously passed Phase 1 of the Tenants First Implementation Plan which will create a new Seniors Housing and Services entity, a new funding model and enable the creation of stronger partnerships with the public and not-for-profit sectors to better provide services and support for all TCH tenants.

We are also moving forward to tackle homelessness and this September, I welcomed the Province's $90 million investment in Toronto. This funding will make a real and immediate difference, helping nearly 2,000 of our most vulnerable people and families get off the streets and into a home with the supports they need to move forward and lead successful lives.

Together these efforts can make a real difference in the lives of so many across our community and our city. At City Hall, I am continuing to push forward with other initiatives like "laneway suites," which can generate new inter-generational and more affordable housing opportunities, while sensitively adding new rental options. The City is also developing a framework to regulate short-term rentals, like Airbnb, to ensure our rental supply is not being abused as vacation rentals for tourists and that Torontonians can access this stock for long-term housing. The City is also evaluating a vacant homes tax mechanism to further incentivize property owners to bring unoccupied units into the market for Torontonians.

There is not one single solution which will solve all our housing problems but all of these efforts are vital to creating a city where all of us and our next generation have an opportunity to share in our prosperity. These efforts are as important as ever with the National Housing Strategy about to be released. Finding solutions to these challenges are not always easy, but what we are proving is that it can be done when we work together.

 

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